News & Events

News & Events

6.12.2012

Lane Powell Wins Appellate Victory for Jacobs Civil, Inc.

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In a recent published opinion, the Court of Appeals, Division Two, delivered a victory for Firm client Jacobs Civil, Inc. Jacobs, along with King County, were sued in a personal injury action stemming from a construction site injury to an employee of the general contractor. Because the Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits an employee from suing his or her employer for work-related injuries, the plaintiff sued the project owner (King County) and the owner’s project manager (Jacobs) under the theory that the owner and project manager had retained sufficient control over the job site to assume responsibility for worker safety. Under Washington law, a general contractor has a statutory and common law duty to ensure job-site safety for all workers, including its own employees and the employees of the subcontractors. The plaintiff sought to extend that duty to King County and Jacobs because of the extensive monitoring they performed during the project. Both King County and Jacobs argued that their efforts to monitor the general contractor’s progress on the project and to ensure contract compliance did not give them sufficient control over the means and methods of construction to create a duty of care to the plaintiff. Both the trial court and appellate court agreed. Lane Powell Attorneys Stan Beck and Andrew Gabel handled the case at the trial court with research and drafting assistance from Lane Powell Attorney Reuben Ortega. Lane Powell Shareholder Ryan McBride wrote the appellate brief and argued the appeal. View the court’s decision.