Feldman And Stewart Obtain Summary Judgment For General Contractor Defendant
CM partner Ian Feldman and associate Meredith Stewart recently obtained a favorable result for their general contractor client who was named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. Plaintiff was an employee of a subcontractor hired by CM’s client to perform concrete work at a residential remodel project where CM’s client served as the general contractor. Plaintiff alleged that CM’s client negligently maintained, supervised and controlled the project resulting in the plaintiff’s injuries and associated damages, including past and future medical expenses and loss of earnings.
Discovery established that at all times the subcontractor, rather than CM’s client, retained control of the manner and method of the subcontractor’s and the plaintiff’s work at the project. Further, the evidence revealed that CM’s client did not promise any safety measures, did not direct plaintiff in the conduct of his work and did not affirmatively contribute to the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. In addition, it was established that there was no latent defect on the property of which CM’s client was aware, but failed to reveal to the subcontractor or to the plaintiff so as to to impose liability. Ian and Meredith filed a motion for summary judgment relying on a long line of California case law and demonstrating how exceptions to the general rule that the plaintiff’s sole remedy was workers’ compensation did not apply to the lawsuit. Ian and Meredith asserted the affirmative defense that since CM’s client did not retain control over the subcontractor’s work and did not affirmatively contribute to his injuries, liability could not be imposed. After oral argument, the court granted the motion and entered judgment against the plaintiff and in favor of CM’s client.