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Michael F. Schmidt Obtains Summary Disposition In Wrongful Death Construction Accident Claim Against General Contractor

Amy Felty, Personal Representative of the Estate of Leo Felty, Jr., Deceased v Skanska USA Building, Inc., Washtenaw County Circuit Court, claim for the wrongful death of Leo Felty, Jr. who fell about 30 feet from a hydromobile scaffold while working on the University of Michigan Alumni Memorial Hall Museum of Art Renovation Project for Davenport Masonry, Inc. Suit was filed against Skanska USA Building, Inc., the general contractor for the project, who we defended. There had been multiple MIOSHA violations issued against Davenport Masonry, Inc., the employer of the decedent for the accident. After substantial discovery we filed a motion for summary disposition on behalf of Skanska arguing that the plaintiff failed to establish liability of the general contractor and that none of the elements of the common work area exception applied. We argued that there was no evidence that Skanska failed to take reasonable steps within its supervisory and coordinating authority, that there was no evidence of a readily observable and avoidable danger, because the hydromobile scaffold had been fully guarded at all times on the project other than on part of the day of the accident when it was elevated over 30 feet in the air and covered with visqueen and the lack of guarding could not be observed, that there was no evidence of a high degree of risk to a significant number of workers, because the only workers exposed to the hazard were the decedent and his co-worker, and that there was no evidence of a common work area, because the only subcontractor who was exposed to the hazard were employees of Davenport. The trial court agreed with our arguments and granted summary disposition dismissing any and all claims made by the plaintiff against Skanska USA Building, Inc.