Jeffrey Gerasi appealed an order granting summary judgment to the defendant, Gilbane Building Company Inc. The issue on appeal was whether there was a material fact existing as to whether Gilbane retained control over the work of its subcontractor, Geary Electric. Gilbane could have been directly liable under section 414 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts for its negligence in exercising its retained control. Originally Gerasi’s lawsuit pursued a theory of liability against Gilbane under the theory of vicarious liability. He later abandoned that argument.
Gibane was hired by AT&T Services Inc. to act as general contractor for the replacement of two air conditioning systems to cool AT&T’s Wabash telecommunications building at 520 South Federal St. in Chicago. Johnson Controls inspects, maintains and performs or arranges for repairs to the Wabash building. Gilbane hired Geary Electric to do the electrical work on this project.
Gilbane had a written contract with both AT&T and Geary. Gilbane was to conduct weekly safety meetings. The AT&T/Gilbane contract required Gilbane to place “the highest importance and priority on health and safety for the [w]ork performed” and provided that Gilbane was “responsible for the safety and protection of the [w]ork, workers of [c]ontractors and [s]ubcontractors, and any other persons or public or private property as required by law.”