Johnson v. Raytheon Co.Annotate this Case
After plaintiff was seriously injured when he fell from a ladder at work, he filed suit against several defendants, alleging they were all responsible for the unsafe conditions which led to his fall. Plaintiff was employed by an independent contractor which provided maintenance engineering staff for Raytheon. The prime contractor for Raytheon's water cooling tower renovation was Systems XT, and plaintiff was employed by ABM, an independent contractor which provided control room staff to Raytheon.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Raytheon and Systems XT. The court held that there were no triable issues of material fact under the Hooker exception to Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689, where Raytheon did not represent that the partial extension ladder was a safe replacement for the platform ladder, nor did Raytheon promise to provide ABM's employees with light fixtures at the water cooling tower. In the alternative, there were no triable issues of material fact under the Kinsman exception to Privette where there was undisputed evidence that the hazard could reasonably have been discovered by inspecting the ladder, and once discovered, avoided. The court also held that Systems XT owed no duty to provide plaintiff with lighting. In this case, Systems XT did not leave plaintiff in the dark with no way to perform his task, because he had a flashlight that he simply chose not to use when he inspected the water level.