Bryan Fernandez v. Schaub Construction, et al.

    07.27.2016

    Alice C. Smith obtained summary judgment in favor of Schaub Construction, Inc. and David Schaub as against plaintiff, which led to a dismissal of the entire lawsuit.

    On May 29, 2012, Plaintiff Brayan Fernandez fell through a skylight lens at a home in Westlake Village, CA while painting inside the home. The owners of the home had contracted directly with Plaintiff's employer, Chuck's Custom Painting, to paint their home in or around April and May 2012. The original construction of the home was completed by David Schaub and/or Schaub Construction, Inc. in June 1988. The one story custom residence with loft area had a skylight opening with a lens cover that allowed light to penetrate to the first floor. The skylight was admittedly "open and obvious" to the homeowners. The homeowners did not did not contract with either David Schaub or Schaub Construction, Inc as the general contractor for this painting project.

    As a result of that fall, Plaintiff filed suit for his personal injuries and asserted actions for negligence and premises liability. Also as a result of that fall, Plaintiff-in-intervention, Everest National Insurance Company sought reimbursement of certain worker's compensation benefits paid to Mr. Fernandez. As against David Schaub and/or Schaub Construction, Inc, Plaintiff and Plaintiff-in-Intervention, Everest National Insurance Company made claims for Professional Negligence, General Negligence as to Latent Defects, Products Liability, Negligence and Strict Products Liability.

    Defendants/Defendants-in-intervention David Schaub and Schaub Construction, Inc. moved for summary judgment the grounds that the statute of limitations for a patent condition on premises bars plaintiff's action against David Schaub and/or Schaub Construction, Inc. for construction work completed nearly twenty-five years prior to the Plaintiff's injury. Defense counsel also argued that the completed and accepted doctrine bars plaintiff's action against David Schaub and/or Schaub Construction, Inc. where the owners of the property, inspected and accepted David Schaub and/or Schaub Construction, Inc.'s completed work in June 1988, took control of the property and used it as their primary residence. Defense counsel further argued that where David Schaub and/or Schaub Construction, Inc. was not the general contractor at the time of the incident, it did not owe any duty to plaintiff and cannot be liable for premises liability for property that it did not own or control at the time of the incident. Finally, defense counsel contended that Plaintiff-in-intervention's claims against David Schaub and/or Schaub Construction, Inc. fail where there is no liability to plaintiff.

    The Court agreed with the defense and determined that the skylight hole and the dangers associated with it were open and obvious, and any person would be aware of the skylight and its dangers with a cursory inspection. Ultimately, the Court granted summary judgment for defendants as to plaintiff's claims, on the basis of the completed and accepted doctrine and statute of limitations. The court's entry of judgment dismissed plaintiff's lawsuit entirely. Following the Court's granting defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, the parties reached an agreement, where in exchange of plaintiff's right to appeal on the summary judgment and a dismissal of Everest National Insurance Company's claims with prejudice, defendants would waive their costs and fees.

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