Massachusetts judges have twice recently considered the liability of a construction equipment renter to a person injured while using the equipment and the cases reach different results. The most recent case let the lessor out directly.
As reported here the lessor of a construction lift had to share liability for its users’ actions in a Massachusetts personal injury claim. Just recently, another Massachusetts case reached the opposite result.
In Vintimilla V. National Lumber Company, 84 Mass App Court 493 2013 the Massachusetts Appeals Court threw out the claim by the injured party suing the company that rented construction equipment. The lessor, asked the court to let it out of the case, arguing that they had no influence over the man who fell 35 feet while standing on an extended forklift.
The court agreed – finding the rental agreement with a liability waiver between two businesses to be enforceable. A dissenting judge, focused on the regulation requiring that only licensed operators use forklifts, felt a jury should determine the culpability of the renting company.
The majority ruled however, that in an injury action the lessor of construction equipment can’t be brought into a suit just because of the rental. This time.