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Premises Liability – Independent Contractor

December 19, 2013

Premises Liability – Independent Contractor

CaseGreg Parker, et al. v. Holiday Hospitality Franchising, Inc., et al.

Issue:  Can a Hotel be liable for injuries caused by a defective shower bench installed by an independent contractor?

Facts:  Customer alleged that a shower bench in a Hotel collapsed, causing him to fall and sustain injuries.  Hotel moved for summary judgment, asserting that it did not install the bench and did not have actual or constructive notice of the independent contractor’s negligent installation of the bench. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case.

Appellate Decision:  The intermediate court held in favor of Customer and reversed.  The court held that the dangerous condition existed for four years in a room that was advertised to be handicapped accessible, and had been rented prior to Customer’s stay.  Moreover, it was foreseeable that handicapped persons would use the shower and could be injured.  Thus, the court concluded that the Hotel had a duty to ensure the bench was not defective, and a jury could conclude that Hotel could have discovered the danger with reasonable diligence.

Review Granted:  December 10, 2013.

Prediction:  Ben thinks the Court will affirm for the reasons state by the COA, and will clarify the law in this area.