At construction sites in California, it is common for several different companies to perform different types of work. When an employee of one company is injured while working on a construction site by a company other than his or her employer, he or she has the right to file a lawsuit against the negligent party while also recovering benefits through his or her employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In some construction accidents, several third parties may be involved. In Atlas Construction Supply v. Swinerton Builders, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. D076426, the Court of Appeals considered whether one third party had the standing to appeal the trial court’s decision to grant a motion for summary judgment to a codefendant.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Marcelo Devalasco, Sr. was employed by J.R. Construction as a construction worker. J.R. Construction was hired by Swinerton Builders, a general contractor who was working on a residential development in San Diego. Swinerton also hired Brewer Crane & Rigging to perform work on the project. J.R. Construction rented a concrete form that was 10 feet tall and between 300 and 400 pounds from Atlas Construction Supply. Brewer placed the form upright at the worksite without any supporting braces. Devalasco and a second worker climbed the concrete form to change its size. The other worker stepped off of the form, and Devalasco’s weight caused it to be unbalanced. It fell over, crushing Devalasco and killing him.