Jones v. Sorenson, 25 Cal. App. 5th 933 (2018)

Homeowner Danita Sorenson hired a gardener (“Odette Miranda dba Designs by Leo”) to work on her property, and Miranda hired Mary E. Jones to help.  Jones was injured when she fell from a ladder while trimming a tree that was at least 15 feet tall.  Jones sued Sorenson, claiming the work required a license but Miranda was not licensed and Miranda’s negligence caused her fall.  Jones further alleged that Sorenson was the employer of both Miranda and Jones.  Although the trial court dismissed Jones’s claim on the ground that Miranda was in essence a licensed “nurseryperson,” the Court of Appeal reversed and held that Sorenson was potentially liable because a “nurseryperson” refers to a licensed operator of a nursery, which Miranda was not.  Since Sorenson hired Miranda (an unlicensed contractor), she has potential liability for Jones’s injuries as her employer.