Land Owner Not Liable for Worker’s Fall and Resulting Paralysis

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A 19-year-old worker was on a rooftop of a construction site when he slipped on ice and fell through a piece of plywood covering a hole for a skylight. The injuries he suffered rendered him a paraplegic. He sued several companies and individuals, most of which were protected from such lawsuits by workers’ comp law. The remaining defendant was the company that owned the land where the construction site was located. The worker lost at trial and appealed, arguing that this company should be held vicariously liable for the negligence of a company that provided supervisory management services for the project. The appeals court dismissed the case. The management services company was an independent contractor, not the land owner’s agent. So the land owning company wasn’t liable for the independent contractor’s negligence, ruled the appeals court [Heikkila v. Apex Land Corp., [2016] ABCA 126 (CanLII), April 28, 2016].