Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Summary Judgment Denied in Lackawanna Slip and Fall Case

In his recent decision in the case of Santiago v. Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., No. 16-CV-1529 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Feb. 2, 2018 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas denied a property owner’s Motion for Summary Judgment in a slip and fall action.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff was an employee of an independent contractor that was retained by the property owner to provide janitorial services.   The Plaintiff was allegedly injured in a slip and fall event on the premises.  

The Defendant-owner filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the basis that it allegedly owned no duty of care to the employee of the independent contractor.  The landowner Defendant argued that a landowner who retains an independent contractor cannot be vicariously liable for the negligence of an independent contractor or its employees.  

However, Judge Nealon denied the Motion for Summary Judgment under the “retained control” exception to that theory of non-liability.  Under the exception, a property owner who entrusts work to an independent contractor remains subject to liability if its contract with the independent contractor grants the landowner control over the manner, method, and operative details of the independent contractor’s work.  

Judge Nealon found that there were issues of fact in this regard that required the court to deny the Motion for Summary Judgment filed.  

Anyone wishing to read this Opinion may click this LINK.

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