CA SUPREME COURT DECLINES NEW
EXCEPTION TO PRIVETTE DOCTRINE
In Privette v. Superior Court (1993) the court held the client/hirer of an independent contractor delegates safety responsibility to the contractor and therefore is not liable for any injuries to the contractor's workers. The two exceptions is if the hirer retains control and negligently exercises that control resulting in injury (Hooker v. Dept. Transportation (2002)); or where a landowner knew or should of known about a concealed hazard which is not revealed and results in injury (Kinsman v. Unocal (2002)).
In Gonzales v. Mathis (2021), Gonzales was an uninsured window washer business owner who went on Mathis' roof to wash a skylight, when he slip on loose material and fell to the ground. Gonzalez knew of the roofing conditions, but filed a civil suit claiming negligence against the homeowner for not having fixed the roof and/or providing safety equipment. Gonzalez was asking for a new third Privette Rule exception to include known hazards.
The CA Supreme Court declined to create another exception and held that a landowner is not liable for injuries sustained to a contractor's employees when the hazard was known and therefore should have been addressed by the contractor as part of the contractual bargain.
[COMMENT: The applicant failed to carry his own work comp insurance and presumably had insufficient work hours to qualify as a residential employee to come under the homeowner's policy, thus making the desperation civil lawsuit play against his own client.]