Toeppe v. City of San DiegoAnnotate this Case
Mission Bay Park was the largest man-made aquatic park in the country. While Lorin Toeppe was walking through Mission Bay Park with her boyfriend, a branch fell off a eucalyptus tree and struck her. Toeppe sustained serious injuries. She filed suit against the City of San Diego (City) alleging the existence of a dangerous condition on public property, namely a negligently maintained eucalyptus tree. The City prevailed on summary judgment, arguing that Toeppe was struck by the tree branch while standing on a trail; thus, the City could not be liable under Government Code section 831.4 (trail immunity). Toeppe appealed the subsequent final judgment following the City's successful motion for summary judgment. Toeppe argued: (1) trail immunity did not apply under the facts of this case because her claim of a dangerous condition was based on a negligently maintained eucalyptus tree, not the condition of the trail passing through the park; and (2) even if trail immunity did apply, a disputed issue of material fact existed as to where she was located when the branch struck her. The Court of Appeal agreed with her on both grounds, and thus reversed.