Welker v. Kennecott

In Welker v. Kennecott, 1 Ariz. App. 395, 401-04, 403 P.2d 330, 336-39 (1965) the Court rejected the argument that a landowner owes a nondelegable duty under Restatement 422 to an employee of an independent contractor. 1 Ariz. App. at 404, 403 P.2d at 339. A primary issue in Welker was whether the landowner, a mining company, was negligent in causing the death of an employee of its general contractor. 1 Ariz. App at 397, 403 P.2d at 332. The victim's family alleged that the landowner had a nondelegable duty of care for the employees of the general contractor under Restatement 422. Id. at 401, 403 P.2d at 336. On appeal, the Court held that the duties outlined in Restatement 422 "are not owed to employees of an independent contractor" performing construction work. Id. at 404, 403 P.2d at 339. In doing so, we reasoned in part that because workers' compensation is essentially paid by the landowner through a negotiated contract price with the contractor, the landowner should not be held liable for the injuries to the contractor's workers. Id. The Court further reasoned that the various distinctions developed as exceptions to the general rule of non-liability "are nebulous at best" and "become so highly confusing as to be undesirable when applied to employees of an independent contractor doing construction work." Id.