Property Owner Liability for Employee Exposure to Asbestos

In Grahn v. Tosco Corp. (1997) 58 Cal. App. 4th 1373, the court held a property owner could be liable for allowing an employee of an independent contractor to be exposed to asbestos while working on its premises. The employee asserted three theories of negligence against the property owner: negligent hiring of the contractor, negligent exercise of control over the contractor's work, and negligent use and maintenance of the premises. (Id., at pp. 1380, 1389.) The court concluded that " . . . Privette v. Superior Court (1993) did not abrogate the law in California that a hirer of an independent contractor may be liable to the independent contractor's employee for the hirer's own independent fault." (Id., at p. 1379, italics added.) Rather, " . . . Privette is limited to cases of peculiar risk seeking to impose liability on hirers of independent contractors vicariously under the rubric of a nondelegable duty. It does not impair the right of an injured employee to sue the hirer for causes of action not based on principles of vicarious liability." (Id., at p. 1389.)