Friable Thoughts

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Premises Defendants Lose One in California

The California Supreme Court held recently in KINSMAN v. UNOCAL CORP. that a premises owner may still be liable to an employee of an independent contractor even if the premises owner did not actively commit a negligent act or control the working conditions if 1) the premises owner knew or should have known there was a dangerous condition; 2) the contractor could not have discovered the danger and 3) the premises owner did not disclose the dangerous condition to the contractor.

From a trial perspective, it sounds like a plaintiff would still have pretty far to go to nail a premises owner in an asbestos case. However, the decision makes it much harder for premises owners to get a summary judgment. Since most cases settle or get dismissed, a victory for the plaintiff's bar.


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