TSC Decides Independent Contractor Case

The Tennessee Supreme Court has issued an opinion in Bennett v. Trevacca Nazarene University.

The summary:

"We accepted this appeal of a premises liability case to determine whether the “independent contractor rule” adopted in Blair v. Campbell, 924 S.W.2d 75 (Tenn. 1996), relieves a premises owner from liability when a premises owner provides an independent contractor inaccurate information germane to the contractor’s work. We hold that a property owner has a duty of reasonable care to provide accurate information to an independent contractor if the owner provides specific information germane to the repair after engaging the contractor. Because material facts remain in dispute between the parties in this case about what information the premises owner provided, the trial court erred when it granted summary judgment to the defendant. We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

The opinion goes off on voluntary assumption of duty and Section 552 of the Restatement.  A sample: "Although the Court of Appeals fashioned a new “voluntary speech rule” to cover the facts of this case, we rely on two well-established principles of Tennessee tort law, the voluntary assumption of a duty and negligent misrepresentation, to impose a duty of reasonable care on a premises owner to provide accurate information to an independent contractor if the owner provides specific information germane to the repair after engaging the contractor."

Read the opinion here.