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California Supreme Court Decision Increases Landowners' Potential Liability to Employees of Independent Contractors

February 28, 2006

By Sanjay Ranchod

A recent California Supreme Court decision creates an exception to the general rule that landowners do not owe a duty of care to employees of independent contractors. In Kinsman v. Unocal Corporation, the Court held that a landowner may be liable for injuries to a contractor's employees where the landowner does not disclose to the contractor a hidden, pre-existing hazardous condition on its property. This decision has contract disclosure, insurance, and other implications for California landowners.