Lori Miller Obtains Summary Judgment and Dismissal Based Upon Doctrine of Retained Control in Construction Case Against Hospital

Lori Miller obtained summary judgment and dismissal of all claims against her Hospital client in a case that arose out of a serious construction accident that occurred at the Hospital during the building of a Chiller Plant facility.

The plaintiff, a union employee, hired by a sub-contractor, claimed disabling injuries after tripping and falling over a conduit pipe protruding out of the ground while he was pouring the concrete floor at the facility. Plaintiff brought suit against the Hospital who owned the property as well as the general contractor hired to manage and perform the construction project on the Hospital’s premises. None of the parties were able to locate the contract memorializing the agreement between the owner Hospital and the general contractor.

The plaintiff’s physicians rendered him totally disabled with severe lumbar spine injuries. Plaintiff worker’s compensation lien totaled $248,689, which continued to grow throughout litigation.

At the close of discovery, Ms. Miller filed a summary judgment motion for the Hospital, based upon the “Doctrine of Retained Control” which states that a property owner can only be held liable for the injury of an employee of a subcontractor if the owner retains significant control over the work involved. Specifically, the owner must maintain control over the method in which the contractor performs its work and direct the operative details of the contractor’s work. Judge Allen found that the Hospital did not retain such control over the construction project and granted the Hospital’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims against the Hospital.