Recently, a California Court of Appeal affirmed a jury’s finding that the defendants in a premises liability lawsuit had not caused the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries. In this case, the court found that the jury did not err in holding that the landlords had been negligent, but their conduct had not been a substantial factor in causing the plaintiffs’ injuries. The court looked at the standard that requires a judgment to be supported by substantial evidence and found that in this case, that standard had been met.
On appeal, the court stated they view the record in the light most favorable to the prevailing party. Here, the facts indicated that Alexandra Lake and her six-year-old daughter lived in a rented apartment in Tiburon, California. The Morphews owned the property and rented out the unit, as well as three others.
In 2010, Ms. Lake’s daughter Jazea fell from the second to last step on an exterior staircase leading from the street level to the entrance to Ms. Lake’s unit. Jazea hit her head on a metal gate at the bottom landing. Neither the stairs nor the handrail were in compliance with the building code. Jazea had abrasions on her forehead, and her cheek was slightly swollen.