Q: While watching a parade, I leaned against a building for about five minutes. As a result I sustained some awful chemical burns. It turns out that a contractor had been hired to clean and waterproof the facade. In the process of cleaning the building, the contractor applied a product that contained hydrofluoride, and took away the product with a steam cleaning machine. During the steam cleaning process, the water and chemical ran down the side of the building to the sidewalk.
However, the product was not completely removed. During rain, the run-off had left an acidic residue on ledges and areas where someone like me might lean.
A: The lessee of this building is vicariously liable for the acts of its independent contractor, based on the inherently dangerous nature of the work performed. The use of hydrofluoric acid to clean the facade of a building in a public place is inherently dangerous, and it is foreseeable that pedestrians who come into contact with the exterior of a building on which this chemical has been applied or improperly removed would be injured.
The contractor’s work involved a risk of harm inherent in the nature of the work itself and the lessee of the building should have recognized that risk in advance of the contract.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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