Recently, the issue of sufficient pleadings to state a cause of action came before a California Court of Appeal. In an unpublished opinion, the court held that a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit alleging a dangerous condition of public property must show the specific facts that are necessary to the cause of action. Here, the court reviewed whether the trial court committed an error in supporting the City of Los Angeles’ demurrer without leave to amend.
Alvaro Aura was crossing the street in a crosswalk at 11:00 p.m. when he was hit by a car and suffered significant injuries. Mr. Aura submitted a claim for $1,000,000 in damages to the City of Los Angeles, filed under Government Code section 905. His claim was denied, and he then sued the City a few months later, alleging that his injuries were caused by a dangerous condition of public property in violation of section 835.
Specifically, Mr. Aura’s complaint alleged that the single overhanging lamp was hidden by overgrown trees, the crosswalk was dark such that individuals could not be seen by motorists, and pedestrians could not see motorists in the crosswalk. Mr. Aura contended that the City knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, and it should have taken measures to repair or protect against it. The City demurred to the complaint, contending that it did not have a duty to light the street or maintain lighting. The trial court supported the demurrer without leave to amend. Mr. Aura appealed.