Appellate Law, Chicago, Client Results, Complex / Catastrophic, Construction, Firm News, Johnson & Bell

Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment for General Contractor in Construction Worker Accident Case

August 27, 2018

The First District Appellate Court has affirmed summary judgment in favor of defendants where general contractor (Johnson & Bell’s client) did not retain control over any part of plaintiff’s (subcontractor employee) work, the general contractor was not liable for premises liability, and the subcontractor did not proximately cause plaintiff’s injury.

In this case, the plaintiff was performing roofing work at a hospital construction site when he slipped on a ledge and fell. His safety line did not immediately stop his fall because there was slack in his safety line due to being impeded by a pile of demolition bricks between plaintiff and his safety line anchor point. Plaintiff incurred serious injuries and could not return to work.

Although the general contractor's contract with the hospital provided that the general contractor would be solely responsible for all construction means, methods, techniques, sequences and procedures, and for coordinating all portions of the work, the Appellate Court found that nothing in the contract indicated that the general contractor retained control such that the subcontractors were not entirely free to do the work in their own way. Furthermore, after reviewing deposition testimony, the Appellate Court found that the general contractor did not retain control over the work via its conduct. Lastly, the Appellate Court held that plaintiff’s premises liability claim failed because there was no evidence that the general contractor knew the pile of demolished bricks posed an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff.

Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Garrett L. Boehm, Jr., handled the appeal. Johnson & Bell Shareholders, Joseph F. Spitzzeri and Katie E. Gorrie, obtained summary judgment before the Circuit Court.

To view the summary judgment, click here.

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