California Court Discusses the Scope of Church’s Duty to Parishioner in Recent Premises Liability Case

Earlier this month, the state’s supreme court issued a written opinion in a California premises liability case brought by a man who was seriously injured as he was crossing the road from an off-site parking lot to the defendant church. The case required the court to determine whether the church owed the plaintiff a duty of care to prevent the type of injury he sustained. Ultimately, the court concluded that the church did not owe the plaintiff a duty.

Busy RoadThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was planning on attending an evening service at the defendant church. As the plaintiff arrived at the church, he was directed to an overflow parking lot across a five-lane highway. When he pulled into the parking lot, he found a parking spot and exited his vehicle.

The plaintiff needed to cross the street to get to the church. However, the parking attendant did not tell the plaintiff that the church had volunteers stationed at the intersection about 100 feet away. Rather than walk to the nearest intersection, the plaintiff attempted to cross the street mid-block. As he was navigating the five-lane highway, he was struck by a passing motorist.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the church, arguing that the church was negligent in failing to make sure that parishioners could safely navigate their way from the off-site parking lot into the church. The trial court granted the church’s motion for summary judgment, and on appeal, the intermediate appellate court affirmed. Thus, the case was presented to the California Supreme Court on the plaintiff’s appeal.

The court determined that under the specific facts of this case, the church did not owe a duty to the plaintiff. The court explained, however, that if there had been evidence that the dangers involved in crossing the street were “magnified” or “obscured” in any way by the church, a duty may have arisen. In coming to this conclusion, the court determined that while this type of injury was a foreseeable consequence of placing a parking lot across a five-lane highway, the policy implications involved in the decision favored not placing a duty on the church in this particular circumstance.

Have You Been Injured in a California Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of California accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated California personal injury attorneys at Sharifi Firm have extensive experience representing victims and their families in a wide range of personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents and premises liability cases. We understand that each client’s needs are different, and we cater our representation to each client’s needs. To learn more, and to speak with an attorney about your case today, call 866-4222-7222. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff’s Case Permitted to Proceed Against Private Company Responsible for Maintaining Traffic Lights, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, November 20, 2017

California Car Accident Plaintiff Misses Out on Opportunity to Cross-Examine Defense Medical Expert, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, October 19, 2017

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