General Contractor May Be Liable for Problems Caused by Excavator Sub

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

The Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals in the case of Nagorski v. Valley View (1993), 87 Ohio App. 3d 605, has ruled that a general contractor could potentially be liable for the negligence of its excavator subcontractor or any other subcontractor who is engaged in inherently dangerous work. The Court stated that the general contractor might be liable for the failure of the excavator subcontractor to provide sediment barriers as required by the permit, which allegedly caused damage to a neighboring property owner. This case means that general contractors must be extra diligent in observing and supervising the work of subcontractors engaged in potentially dangerous work (i.e., demolition contractors rather than painters) to ensure that the subcontractors act reasonably and comply with all applicable permits and regulations governing the work.