SeaBright Ins. Co. v. US Airways, Inc., 52 Cal. 4th 590 (2011)

US Airways uses a conveyor to move luggage at San Francisco International Airport. US Airways hired independent contractor Lloyd W. Aubry Co. to maintain and repair the conveyor and did not direct Aubry’s employees in their work. The conveyor lacked certain safety guards in violation of various Cal-OSHA regulations. After one of Aubry’s employees, Anthony Verdon Lujan, was injured while inspecting the conveyor, the employee and Aubry’s workers’ compensation carrier (SeaBright) sued US Airways. US Airways filed a summary judgment motion based on Privette v. Superior Court, 5 Cal. 4th 689 (1993), in which the California Supreme Court held that an employee of an independent contractor is generally precluded from suing the party that hired the contractor. The question in this case was whether the Privette rule applies when the party that hired the contractor failed to comply with workplace safety requirements. The Supreme Court held the Privette rule does apply in such circumstances and ordered that summary judgment be granted in favor of US Airways.