Defense prevails in workplace injury/premises liability case.
The defendants were two family-owned companies that grow, process and sell mushrooms. One defendant, our client, owned the property, and the other operated the business there. The plaintiff worked for an independent company that was contracted to load compost into the defendants’ mushroom beds. The plaintiff encountered a problem with the equipment used to lift the compost (the source of the problem is in dispute). A connection between components broke, and a metal pan fell on the plaintiff’s arm, crushing it. The plaintiff alleged he had previously reported the problem to the defendants. Our attorneys successfully argued that the defendant who owned the property was a “landlord out of possession” and not responsible for injuries to third parties on the premises. The plaintiff argued that his complaint to one defendant about the equipment problem was notice to both, because both companies were owned by the same family. The court ruled that the shared ownership of the companies did not impose a legal duty on a defendant that was not otherwise responsible for the property.