On October 2, 2014, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court issued an opinion on the issue of whether a husband and wife, as New Jersey property owners, were general contractors during the course of construction of a new home. [Michael Keefe v Center Street Builders, Inc] Lawrence and Wendy Wilt (“the Wilts”), entered into a single page contract with their wholly-owned company, Center Street Builders, Inc. (“CSB”) “as the general contractor.” CSB’s normal construction contract was typically ten (10) pages long. The Wilts paid over $1,000,000.00, the contract price for their home and CSB then paid the various sub-contractors and suppliers. CSB did not earn a profit on the construction project. Construction permits taken out for the home listed Lawrence Wilt as the property owner and CSB as the contractor along with CSB’s contractor license number.
Defendant AJS Siding and Roofing, Inc. (“AJS”) submitted a written proposal to CSB to install a cedar shake roof on the home. AJS submitted invoices to CSB, which CSB then paid by company checks. Yuri Construction (“Yuri”) acted as a sub-contractor to AJS and Yuri employed Jeremias Garcia as a roofer. On the first day of Yuri performing roofing services at the site, Garcia was working on the roof when he fell from a ladder supplied by Yuri landing on his head. There were no guard rails, nets or safety harnesses in use at the time. Garcia fell from a ladder and sustained catastrophic injuries rendering him a quadriplegic and he later died from his injuries.