California Court Finds Plaintiff Pursuing Premises Liability Claim Did Not Prove Property Owner Knew of Dangerous Condition of Stairwell

Recently, the California Court of Appeal ruled in a negligence and premises liability lawsuit involving whether the defendant had notice of any dangerous condition.  Premises liability claims require that in addition to showing the elements of a negligence claim (duty, breach, causation, and damages), there must also be a showing that the property owner knew or should have known of a dangerous condition.  In this case, the court looked to the evidence presented by the plaintiff concerning the defendant’s notice.

Wilson Dante Perry brought this lawsuit for injuries suffered when he fell on an exterior stairway owned by defendant JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA (Chase). Mr. Perry alleged that Chase had negligently designed, developed, operated, and maintained the stairway.  This negligence, according to Mr. Perry, caused his fall and resulting injuries. Chase moved for summary judgment on the ground that Mr. Perry could not satisfy his burden of proving a dangerous condition existed on the property, or that Chase knew of such a dangerous condition.

Mr. Perry’s challenge to the summary judgment was based on the trial court’s error in excluding the expert declarations that he submitted in opposition to the motion for summary judgment.  Mr. Perry had not participated in the exchange of expert witness information prior to trial, nor had he designated any expert witness. The trial court sustained Chase’s evidentiary objections and granted the motion for summary judgment on the basis that Mr. Perry had not submitted evidence to dispute the facts that Chase breached no duty of care and had no knowledge of a dangerous condition.

Here, Mr. Perry contended that Chase had not made a demand for an exchange of expert witness information, and it did not have standing to object.  The court here stated that Chase had engaged in an exchange of expert witness information, and Mr. Perry had not.  The appellate court held that Chase had standing to object to Mr. Perry’s expert declarations.

The trial court had found that Mr. Perry unreasonably failed to disclose his expert witnesses. Chase had served a demand for an exchange of witness information, and Chase had participated in the exchange.  Mr. Perry had not participated in the exchange. The appellate court stated that Mr. Perry unreasonably failed to exchange expert witness information, and the trial court was authorized to exclude the expert declarations.

In this case, the court stated the evidence showed the defendant breached no duty of care, and it did not have knowledge of a claimed dangerous condition on the stairway.  Both Chase and its insurance carrier had regularly inspected the stairway and did not know of any claimed dangerous condition.

The court affirmed the judgment of the lower court, granting summary judgment in favor of Chase.

The premises liability attorneys at Sharifi Firm help accident victims throughout Southern California. We are available for a free consultation. Contact our office at 1-866-422-7222.

More Blog Posts:

California Court of Appeals Holds that Professional Negligence Claim Requires the Negligence Have Occurred in the Rendering of Professional Services, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, July 13, 2015

California Court of Appeals Upholds Evidentiary Ruling in Grocery Store Slip & Fall Case, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, June 17, 2015

Contact Information