Sandoval v. Qualcomm Inc., 12 Cal. 5th 256 (2021)

Qualcomm hired TransPower Testing, Inc., an electrical engineering service company, to inspect and verify the amperage capacity of Qualcomm’s existing switchgear equipment.  TransPower hired Martin Sandoval, an electrical parts supply and repair specialist, to conduct an inspection during which Sandoval was seriously injured.  The jury awarded Sandoval over $1 million for past and future medical expenses and $6 million for pain and suffering/emotional distress damages and apportioned the fault 46 percent to Qualcomm.  The Court of Appeal affirmed, but in this opinion, the California Supreme Court reversed, holding that Qualcomm owed Sandoval no injury-prevention duty in that it had turned over control of the worksite and presumptively delegated to TransPower any preexisting duties Qualcomm otherwise owed to Sandoval.  The Supreme Court also held that pattern jury instruction CACI No. 1009B does not adequately instruct juries on the applicable law.