Insalaco v. Hope Lutheran Church of West Contra Costa CountyAnnotate this Case
The Insalacos own property atop of a slope. At the bottom of the slope is Wilkie Creek. Hope Lutheran Church owns property on the other side of the creek. After a landslide made their house uninhabitable, the Insalacos sued the Church and adjoining landowners, including the Du/Wongs. They alleged that water runoff from the Church caused the creek to rise, which caused their backyard to flood. The flooding saturated the soil in their backyard, which caused the landslide. The Du/Wongs filed a cross-complaint, alleging tort causes of action related to the landslide and seeking indemnification. The court granted the Church summary judgment.
The court of appeal reversed The trial court erred in denying a timely motion by the Insalacos for a continuance to take additional discovery (a site inspection) and oppose the summary judgment motion. They presented a detailed declaration from their attorney explaining the particular facts essential to opposing the motion that may exist but could not then be presented. As to the Du/Wongs, concededly material facts were disputed. The Church placed at issue how much rain fell on the date of the incident, whether there are “two ways in which water flow in a creek could destabilize a slope,” and whether the channel of Wilkie Creek is stable and shows no evidence of recent erosion.