• Outdoor Legal: Subcontractor Waiver Clauses Matter

    Having your independent contractors sign waiver language can mitigate your risks.  That’s the lesson of Holmes v. Clear Channel Outdoor.  Here are the facts.

    • Fred Holmes was an experienced billposter who signed an independent contractor agreement with Eller Media. The independent contractor agreement contained this waiver language: “Contractor hereby waives all of its rights for any recovery against [Clear Channel] including its employees, agents or tenants for any damages incurred by Contractor in providing the services hereunder, provided that such a waiver of recovery does not invalidate the insurance coverage.”


    • Clear Channel Outdoor purchased Eller Media


    • In September 2001 while Holmes was on a Clear Channel Outdoor billboard replacing a vinyl, a weld on a bracket holding the billboard’s catwalk failed and Holmes fell 20 feet to the ground and broke his wrist.


    • Holmes sued Clear Channel for damages claiming the billboard was negligently constructed and maintained.


    • Clear Channel countered that Holmes had waived his right to recover damages against Clear Channel.


    • A Georgia trial court and court of appeals upheld Clear Channel’s argument based on the waiver language and dismissed the case.  The courts found: “No statute prohibits a billboard owner from contracting with an independent contractor who puts posters on billboards to limit the owner’s liability to that contractor.”

    Do you make your contractors sign a contracting agreement?  What clauses do you put in the agreement.  Email billboardinsider@gmail.com or use the form below.

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