News Brief

Del Gatto and Hostallero Obtain Back-to-Back Summary Judgments in Two Dispositive Motions

September 17, 2020

Brian Del Gatto (RMP-Phoenix) and Pamela Hostallero (Associate-Phoenix) obtained summary judgment in two separate dispositive motions in Maricopa County Court on behalf of the firm’s clients – the property managers and property owners of an apartment complex. A temporary employee hired by the property managers to provide maintenance services fell head-first from a carport, and sued the property management company and the property owners alleging negligence and negligence per se, claiming “serious and permanent physical, mental, emotional and other injuries,” and $2.2 million in damages.
Brian and Pamela filed an initial Motion for Summary Judgment for the property managers, arguing that they were, in fact, the plaintiff’s special employer. Based on that designation, the plaintiff was required to put in writing his rejection of workers’ compensation before his injury, otherwise he waived any right to file a suit in tort against the property managers. After extensive briefing of the issue and a lengthy oral argument, the court ruled in our favor from the bench. The second Motion for Summary Judgment was for the property owners, which involved the same laws that supported our Motion for the property managers. Brian and Pamela argued, and the court concurred, that in this case the property owners had no control over the plaintiff or how he performed his job. The court granted our second Motion, again from the bench. In both decisions, the court dismissed all claims against all defendants and specifically adopted the defense’s legal argument regarding Arizona workers’ compensation laws, independent contractors, property owners and control.

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