ILNews

Justices rule on construction manager's duty for jobsite safety

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

The Indiana Supreme Court has held that a construction manager on the Lucas Oil Stadium construction project didn’t have a legal duty to ensure jobsite safety to a subcontractor’s employee either by contract or individual actions, and as a result, cannot be held liable for workplace negligence.

In Hunt Construction Group, Inc., and Mezzetta Construction, Inc. v. Shannon D. Garrett, No. 49S02-1106-CT-365, the justices voted 4-1 to reverse a ruling by Marion Superior Judge David Shaheed that was in favor of Shannon Garrett.

Garrett was working for a concrete company when a coworker dropped a piece of wood that struck her and injured her head and left hand. Shaheed found that the construction manager, Hunt Construction Group, could be held vicariously liable for the actions of her employer, Baker Concrete, because Hunt was in charge of the jobsite. The Court of Appeals held that Hunt was not vicariously liable to Garrett for any negligence on her employer’s part because the two didn’t have the required relationship.

The Supreme Court’s majority relied on Plan-Tec, Inc. v. Wiggins, 443 N.E.2d 1212 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983), as a durable template for resolving these workplace safety issues. Justice Frank Sullivan wrote that for a construction manager to not otherwise be obligated by contract to provide jobsite safety but to be legally bound to provide that care and safety goes beyond what a contract dictates. In this case, Hunt did not undertake any such responsibilities for the project that Garrett was working and can’t be held liable in that way.

Sullivan also wrote that Hunt didn’t assume by its actions on the site any legal duty for that workplace safety, unlike in Plan-Tec, where the construction manager did take on additional jobsite responsibilities beyond the contract.

Justice Brent Dickson dissented, believing that material issues of fact exist about the construction manager’s duty of care and summary judgment is precluded for both parties.

The case is remanded for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

ADVERTISEMENT