Lopez v. C.G.M. Dev., Inc., 101 Cal. App. 4th 430 (2002)

C.G.M. Development, Inc., a property owner, entered into a contract with Dekkon Development, Inc., a general contractor, to develop commercial property located in the City of Industry. Dekkon in turn entered into a subcontract with L&E Builders to frame the roof of the building. Blas Lopez, one of L&E’s employees, was seriously injured when he fell approximately 30 feet onto a concrete floor. Lopez sued CGM, among others, for negligence, alleging that CGM had maintained dangerous working conditions at the jobsite and had not provided Lopez with safety equipment. The trial court granted CGM’s motion for summary judgment, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) provided the exclusive remedy to Lopez. The Court of Appeal rejected Lopez’s argument that the WCA did not apply since L&E did not have workers’ compensation coverage: “L&E’s failure to obtain workers’ compensation coverage … should not expose CGM to liability.” The Court further held that since CGM had not retained control over work conditions at the jobsite, it should suffer no liability.