S.A. Gerrard Co., Inc. v. Fricker

S.A. Gerrard Co., Inc. v. Fricker, 42 Ariz. 503, 27 P.2d 678 (1933) involved an independent contractor-crop duster who negligently allowed pesticides to fall on and damage a neighbor's property. Id. at 505, 27 P.2d at 679. In addressing the defendant-employer's liability for the independent contractor-crop duster's negligence, the court first explained the general rule in Arizona that an employer is not ordinarily liable for the negligence of its independent contractors. Id. at 506, 27 P.2d at 680. Then, the court explained the exception to this rule for "inherently dangerous" activities: One . . . exception is that the law will not allow one who has a piece of work to be done that is necessarily or inherently dangerous to escape liability to persons or property negligently injured in its performance by another to whom he has contracted such work. This is especially true where the agency or means employed to do the work, if not confined and carefully guarded, is liable to invade adjacent property, or the property of others, and destroy or damage it. Id. at 507, 27 P.2d at 680. Applying this exception to the particular facts before it, the court held: "because of the very great likelihood of the poisonous dust or spray spreading to adjoining or nearby premises and damaging or destroying valuable property thereon, the employer could not delegate this work to an independent contractor and thus avoid liability." Id.