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Hirer's Responsibility for Contractor Employee Injury

SHERRY HORNE v. AHERN RENTALS, INC.


The family of an employee of an independent contractor sued the hirer of the independent contractor, alleging the hirer’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the employee’s death.  With some exceptions, such suits are barred by the Privette rule.  (Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689 (Privette).)  One of those exceptions is that a hirer is liable for injury to an employee of a contractor if the hirer exercised control over safety conditions at the worksite in a way that affirmatively contributed to the employee’s injuries.  (Hooker v. Department of Transportation (2002) 27 Cal.4th 198, 202 (Hooker).)

Plaintiffs contend there are triable issues of fact whether defendant affirmatively contributed to the collapse of a forklift on the decedent while he was replacing its tires. We agree with the trial court that plaintiffs failed to present evidence that defendant affirmatively contributed to decedent’s injuries under Hooker’s retained control exception to the Privette rule. Accordingly, we affirm the court’s grant of summary judgment.


Read the entire case here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B299605.PDF

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