Construction worker's injury case is dismissed before trial
Jeff Hobbs, who worked for Trend Carpentry, sued the general contractors and several other entities after he suffered consecutive back injuries at two different job sites, including the Odawa Casino in Emmet County, and the University of Michigan. Plaintiff Hobbs claimed that the general should have assured that copper piping was not left in the restaurant area--rather than directing subs to store it in that area, as it was a fall hazard for all employees on site. The trial judge concluded that since Hobbs had not evidence to confirm how the piping got stored where it was, he could not blame the general contractor--even though the latter was responsible for maintaining a safe "common work area." The Court of Appeals upheld this reasoning and the summary disposition granted to the Emmet County defendants.
Hobbs also claimed that the general contractor on the U of M project was negligent in directing jobsite employees to enter and exit via a snow and ice-covered walkway. The judge ruled that he had no proof of a specific direction by the general contractor that he use the ice-covered walkway, and therefore his claim could be summarily dismissed. The Court of Appeals also upheld this decision.
Lastly, the Court of Appeals ruled that under existing Michigan law, the contractors' insurer was obligated to provide a defense to Hobbs' claims, even though it may not have been obligated to pay any resulting judgment.