Washington Case Law Update: Injured Worker Responsible for Defective Condition Barred from Recovery from Landowner

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Washington Case Law Update: Injured Worker Responsible for Defective Condition Barred from Recovery from Landowner

From the desk of Kyle D. Riley: Under premises liability law in Washington, a landowner owes a duty of care to invitees that requires the landowner to inspect the premises and warn or remedy any dangerous conditions.  But where a worker hired to perform repairs is injured by a dangerous condition he was hired to repair, will the court find that the landowner breached a duty of care owed to the worker? Read on to find out.

Claims Pointer: In this case arising out of a worker who lived on the property while making repairs on the property, the court held that the landowners owed the worker the same duty of care owed to invitees.  However, because the worker had superior knowledge of the dangerous condition and was hired to remedy the dangerous condition, the court held that the landowners did not breach the duty of care owed to the worker.

McGee v. Graziano et al., 50046-9-II, Washington Court of Appeals Div. II (January 23, 2018) (unpublished)

Dan Graziano and Joyce Farley Graziano (collectively “the Grazianos”) managed a property for Eric Stroh.  In early November 2015, the Grazianos hired Jeff McGee (“McGee”) to “rip up the carpet, tack strips and padding” on the property in exchange for $300.  In late November, the Grazianos again hired McGee, this time to perform other remodeling work and prepare the floor for hardwood finishing.  McGee was paid $2,500 and given the right to live on the property while working.  While McGee was living on the property, a different worker who had been hired to finish the hardwood floors was in and out of the house for a few days.  At one point, while McGee was staying on the property, he stepped on a carpet staple and punctured his toe.  McGee’s toe became infected, and eventually, his foot and leg had to be amputated.

McGee sued the Grazianos, Eric Stroh, and EDJ Properties, LLC (collectively...

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