California Appeals Court Upholds Jury Verdict that Project Owner not Liable for Asbestos Injury to Contract Worker

In Hubbard v. Cal. Water Services, a California appeals court upheld a jury verdict finding that California Water was not liable to the estate of Thomas Hubbard for asbestos exposure occurring while he was employed by an independent contractor.  The appeals court reasoned that the jury reasonably found that Mr. Hubbard’s employer, a contractor for the water company, should have known that cutting asbestos pipes supplied and owned by the water company posed a health hazard by the late 1960s to early 1970s.  Because there was no showing in the underlying case that the water company knew of asbestos dangers before the contractors did, the contractors remain liable to Mr. Hubbard as his employer.  Under the contractor’s agreement with the water company, the water company supplied all materials for the sewer improvement project while the contractor supplied labor, tools, and equipment.

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