Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed whether an individual who hired a pool contractor to build a pool and spa at his home was negligent and liable for injuries suffered by one of the contractor’s employees. In this case, the court reviewed whether the evidence supported a determination that the defendant negligently exercised control over safety conditions, and it ultimately upheld the verdict in favor of the injured plaintiff.
Jeffrey Callaghan hired Dunn’s Designer Pools, a landscape and pool contractor, to build a pool and spa at his house in Coachella Valley. He acted as the owner-builder for his property, which means he obtained the permits for the job and was responsible for the construction of the pool. A Dunn employee, Victor Regalado, was injured while installing a propane-fueled pool heater. Mr. Regalado brought a lawsuit against Mr. Callaghan for negligence and premises liability. A jury found that Mr. Callaghan had been negligent and assigned 40 percent fault to him, ultimately rendering judgment against him for $3 million.