General Contractors Have Expansive Common Law and Statutory Duties To Provide a Safe Workplace

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Attorney Paul Cressman Jr. analyzes the case Vargas v. Inland Washington, LLC.

February 18, 2020
Paul R. Cressman Jr. - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC

On November 21, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court handed down its decision in Vargas v. Inland Washington, LLC.[1]

At the time of the incident in May 2013, Mr. Vargas, the plaintiff, was helping pour the concrete walls for what would become a parking garage for an apartment building. He was employed by Hilltop Concrete Construction. Inland Washington was the general contractor, and subcontracted with Hilltop to pour concrete. Hilltop, in turn, entered into agreements with Ralph’s Concrete Pumping and Miles Sand & Gravel to provide a pump truck, certified pump operator, and supply concrete.

A rubber hose carrying concrete whipped Mr. Vargas in the head. It knocked him unconscious and caused a traumatic brain injury.

Vargas, through his guardian ad litem, along with his wife and children, sued Inland Washington, Ralph’s, and Miles.

The trial court initially dismissed on summary judgment Vargas’ claims that Inland Washington was vicariously liable for the acts of Hilltop, Ralph’s, and Miles. Later, the trial court also granted Inland Washington’s motion for summary judgment that it was not directly liable as a matter of law.

Mr. Cressman may be contacted at


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