Bertsch v. Mammoth Community Water DistrictAnnotate this Case
Brett Bertsch tragically died while skateboarding with his brother in the resort town of Mammoth Lakes. The two were traveling downhill at a “pretty fast” speed, and without helmets, when the front wheels of Brett’s skateboard hit a small gap between the paved road and a cement collar surrounding a manhole cover, stopping the wheels and ejecting Brett from the board. The impact of Brett’s skull with the pavement resulted in a traumatic brain injury and ultimately death. Brett’s father and brother, plaintiffs Richard and Mitchell Bertsch, brought a wrongful death action against various defendants, including Mammoth Community Water District and Sierra Star Community Association. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, concluding the doctrine of primary assumption of risk barred plaintiffs’ lawsuit as a matter of law. Plaintiffs appealed. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded the summary judgment motions were properly granted and affirmed.