Cordova v. City of Los AngelesAnnotate this Case
The negligent driving of a third party driver caused another car to strike a magnolia tree planted on a center median owned and maintained by the City of Los Angeles. The collision with the tree resulted in the deaths or injuries of all of the car’s occupants. Plaintiffs sued the City under Cal. Gov't Code 835, under which a public entity may be held liable for injury proximately caused by a dangerous condition of its property if the risk of injury was reasonably foreseeable and the entity had sufficient notice of the danger to take corrective measures. Specifically, Plaintiffs asserted that the configuration of the roadway was a dangerous condition of public property. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the City, ruling that the magnolia tree did not constitute a dangerous condition of public property because it did not cause the accident that killed the decedents. The court of appeal affirmed, reasoning that Plaintiffs could not show that the magnolia tree contributed to the third party motorist’s criminally negligent driving. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 835 did not require Plaintiffs to show that the allegedly dangerous condition caused not only their decedents’ fatal injuries but also the third party conduct that precipitated the accident. Remanded.