Under California premises liability law, landowners and public entities can be held responsible for dangerous conditions that result in injuries or death to another person. In order to successfully hold a property owner accountable for an injury-causing hazard, however, certain requirements must be met. In a recently published decision, the California Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s judgment in favor of the defendant in a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff who was injured in a Southern California trip and fall accident.
The plaintiff in the recently decided case was injured when she walked into a concrete pillar near the Los Angeles Convention Center. The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that the pillar, which was placed in front of the convention center to prevent vehicles from driving into a pedestrian zone, was a dangerous condition negligently constructed in a public thoroughfare.
The City of Los Angeles, which was the defendant in the case, claimed that it was immune from liability under a doctrine known as design immunity. Design immunity is a defense available to public entities that shields these entities from liability if they can demonstrate that a public authority reasonably exercised discretionary authority when approving the design at issue. The trial court granted the city’s summary judgment motion and disposed of the plaintiff’s claim, resulting in the plaintiff’s appeal.