Wednesday, January 1, 2014

PSI Energy, Inc. v. Roberts case brief

PSI Energy, Inc. v. Roberts case brief summary
829 N.E.2d 943 (2005)

Appellees, the worker and his wife, sued appellant electric utility and others in the trial court for personal injury and loss of consortium on vicarious liability and premises liability theories. A jury found the utility 13 percent at fault in a general verdict without specifying under which theory. The Court of Appeals of Indiana held that the utility could be held liable as a premises defendant, and affirmed the judgment. The utility appealed.

The utility hired the company that employed the worker as an independent contractor to deal with asbestos insulation installed on the utility's power generating structures. After the worker contracted mesothelioma as a result of his work with asbestos-containing insulation for the company that employed him, the worker asserted that the utility incurred liability to the worker and his wife, both as the entity in possession of the premises and as a principal liable for the acts of its independent contractor.


  • The state supreme court found that the utility was not vicariously liable for the negligence of its independent contractor, the company that employed the worker. 
  • Further, as a general proposition the utility was not liable to the employee for injuries sustained by reason of the potentially dangerous condition on the utility's property that the company that employed the worker was hired as a contractor to address. 
  • However, under the circumstances of the case, there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's general verdict in favor of the worker and his wife under the premises liability instructions that were given to the jury.

The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

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