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Worker who alleges negligence in providing work platform can sue where contractor created new risk

Bernie Thornton suffered injuries rendering him a paraplegiac when he fell from a work platform attached to a Pettibone lift vehicle on a job site.  He argued that the general contractor owed him a duty to maintain a safe common work area, however, the contractor argued that its only jobsite duties were "contractual" duties to the owner--and therefore it owed no duty of reasonable care to Thornton.  The trial court agreed with the Defendant and awarded it a directed verdict. 

On appeal, Thornton's attorneys claimed that the court erred in awarding a directed verdict because there was a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether the general contractor created an unsafe condition by grading soil into an unstable berm that posed a continuing hazard to third-parties.  The Court of Appeals agreed and sent the case back to the lower court for trial.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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