Presbyterian Camp & Conference Centers, Inc. v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
CalFire filed suit against PCCC to recover costs arising from a fire started by a PCCC employee. PCCC demurred, arguing that the Third Appellate District's opinion in Department of Forestry & Fire Protection v. Howell (2017) 18 Cal.App.5th 154, precluded liability. The trial court disagreed and overruled.
The Court of Appeal denied PCCC's petitioner for writ of mandate, holding that Health and Safety Code sections 13009 and 13009.1 include principles of vicarious corporate liability. The court agreed with the dissenting opinion in Howell, and held that sections 13009 and 13009.1 expressly permit the recovery of fire suppression and investigation costs from a corporation, like PCCC, when one of its agents or employees negligently, or in violation of the law, sets a fire, allows a fire to be set, or allows a fire kindled or attended by them to escape onto any public or private property. Therefore, the trial court correctly overruled PCCC's demurrer to CalFire's complaint.