Premises Liability

Whether you own, operate, or manage a property, Porter Scott attorneys have the experience to assist in assessing and managing the risks that you face.

Owners, landlords, and retailers face risk every day for injuries sustained on their property due to alleged defects on the premises, acts of negligent third parties, trip/slip and falls, inadequate security, defective/improper use of equipment, and negligent maintenance of the premises. Resolving premises liability cases can be complicated by issues of ownership, notice, control, responsibility, causation, and indemnity. We provide sound advice to help clients determine which cases should be tried to a jury and which cases should be resolved short of trial. Sometimes the best strategy is prevention. To that end, we also provide counsel and advice to help clients avoid incidents before they occur.

The firm’s experience in premises liability matters include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Dangerous conditions
  • Dog bites
  • Equipment failure
  • Failure to warn
  • Falling merchandise
  • Improper lighting
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Inadequate security
  • Loss prevention stops
  • Negligent or criminal acts of third parties
  • Slip/trip and falls

David Melton and Kayla Cox received a defense verdict for Placer County in the Superior Court of California on a slip and fall case for a Retailer.  Plaintiff claimed that her fall from slipping on a grape in the produce department fractured her right shoulder.  She underwent an open reduction and internal fixation to repair the fracture. The Retailer provided evidence that there was nothing on the floor in the area of the incident, and even if there was, its employees conducted reasonable inspections of the premises.  Resultingly, the Retailer did not have notice of a dangerous condition.  Plaintiff asked the jury for a six-figure damage award. The jury deliberated for less than two hours and found that the Retailer was not negligent.

David A. Melton and Kayla K. Cox won summary judgment on behalf of a multinational retail corporation. A customer claimed that she was injured while shopping at one of the retail corporation’s stores. The customer sued the retail corporation based on a premises liability cause of action. In response, the retail corporation filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that as a matter of law it was not liable for plaintiff’s alleged injuries because plaintiff’s alleged injuries were not foreseeable. In support of its motion for summary judgment, the retail corporation presented evidence showing that in recent years, there were no incidents at the subject store that were similar to the incident involving plaintiff and that resulted in injuries similar to the plaintiff’s. The Sacramento Superior Court agreed that the plaintiff’s injuries were not foreseeable and, consequently, the retail corporation was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and entered judgment in favor of the retail corporation.

David Melton and Taylor Rhoan received a defense verdict in the Superior Court of California, County of Yolo on a slip and fall case for a retailer.  Plaintiff claimed that he slipped inside the restroom after it had been mopped and injured his neck resulting in a 3-level discectomy and fusion surgery.  The retailer argued that plaintiff had notice of the wet floor and proceeded into the restroom despite several warnings.  Plaintiff asked the jury for a high six-figure damage award.  The jury deliberated for 90 minutes and found that the retailer was not negligent.

Successfully brought a Motion for Summary Judgment in a premises liability and negligence case in defense of a major retailer.  Plaintiff brought suit against the retailer after he injured his finger on a razor blade that was inside of a boot sold by the retailer.  The principal legal issue was whether the retailer owed any duty of care to inspect shoes for dangerous conditions.  The court found that the retailer owed no duty of care to inspect shoes because the injury could not be reasonably anticipated.

Successfully brought a Motion for Summary Judgment in a lawsuit against the renters of a ski boat.  The plaintiff, who had been tubing behind the boat, sustained injuries as a result of having been struck by the boat’s propeller.  Judgment was entered on behalf of the defendants based on the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk.  More specifically, the court held that in engaging in the sport of tubing, plaintiff assumed any risks associated with that sport, to include being struck by the boat.

Supreme Court Expands Public Entity Liability On Dangerous Conditions Claims Involving Third-Party Conduct

Can a public entity be liable for dangerous condition of public property if a third party causes plaintiff's accident and there is no causal connection between the condition of the public entity's property and the …

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Design Immunity Does Not Exist Even If City Engineer Made Decision To Place Safety Devices

The case Castro v. City of Thousand Oaks seems to continue a recent trend to limit immunity under dangerous condition law.  This time, the court applied a very narrow reading of the law to overturn …

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The Conundrum of California’s Primary Assumption of the Risk Doctrine Continues

by: Chad Tapp Since the 1970s, California courts have struggled to properly and definitively identify when primary or secondary assumption of risk ("AOR") should apply. Since Li v. Yellow Cab Co., (1975) 13 Cal.3d 804, California …

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The Litigation Debate About the Reasonable Value of Medical Expenses Continues

by: David Melton, Lindsay Goulding and Colleen Howard A few months ago, the Fourth Appellate District changed the landscape of personal injury damages by issuing its decision in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions.  Howell held …

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Litigation News – One Day Jury Trials Coming Soon

by: David Melton, Lindsay Goulding and F. Will Jackson A new day is coming for civil litigants who want their day in court without the expense and burden of a standard civil jury trial. The Governor …

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