Raimo v. Fischer, 372 N.J. Super. 448, 859 A. 2d 709 (App. Div. 2004)

Practice Areas: General Liability

Defendants Fischers contracted with defendant Parker Construction, Inc. who later subcontracted with various contractors, including defendant Englebert, represented by our firm, to build a house.   Plaintiff came to the construction site to meet a contractor and upon learning he was not there, was severely injured when the staircase he was descending fell away from the house.  Discovery disclosed that Englebert had attached the staircase, which was a temporary structure used to gain access to the upper levels of the house during construction, but some time during the week before plaintiff’s accident, a subcontractor removed it so it could frame that part of the house.  Despite the principal of Parker Construction storing the staircase in a garage at the end of that day, it was found the next day by Englebert, who was aware that the staircase had been removed, to again be resting against the house.  Englebert did not then check to see whether it had been reattached.  The trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Englebert was later reversed and remanded for trial against him by the Superior Court, Appellate Division, which reasoned that Englebert had a duty of reasonable care for the safety of persons who he could reasonably expect would come to the construction site on the Fischers’ property, which included ensuring that the temporary staircase he was using to perform his work was properly attached to the house.

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