Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiffs, building owner Majestic Realty and tenant Bohen’s Inc., brought an action against Defendants, independent-contractor Toti Contracting and the Parking Authority of the city of Patterson, New Jersey, for the damage done to the property while Defendants demolished an adjoining building.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Some actions are so inherently dangerous that a party can not delegate their liability for the duty of care to another party.
The social value of the duty to the community is so significant that the law cannot allow it to be transferred to another.View Full Point of Law
Issue. The issue is whether the Parking Authority is liable for damages caused by the negligent actions of an independent contractor.
Held. The Parking Authority is liable for Toti’s negligence because the demolition work was so inherently dangerous that a party can not delegate the liability. Public policy dictates that the party hiring the contractor, although innocent of any direct negligence, should bear the burden of damages over a party that is completely innocent.
Discussion. The demolition work was not classified as ultra-hazardous, which would have made the defendant liable per se for any damages. By holding the party contracting out the work responsible for the contractor’s negligence, the court hopes to instill better hiring practices by defendants.