Goddard v. Dept. of Fish & WildlifeAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit after their father, Leonard Goddard, drowned in the Tuolumne River downstream from the remnant of what was once known as the Dennett Dam. Plaintiffs claimed that the State and other public entities were liable for Goddard's death under Government Code section 835 because his death was caused by a dangerous condition of public property. The trial court denied DWR’s motion for summary judgment, but granted summary judgment to DFW. Plaintiffs appealed. The court found that DFW did not have jurisdiction over the riverbed, and therefore did not “own” it for purposes of liability under section 835, and DFW did not control the dam remnant, as it did not have the power to repair the breach or remove the remnant. Therefore, the court concluded that DFW was immune from suit under section 831.2 and that it did not own or control the dam remnant. The court affirmed the judgment.