Hampton v. County of San DiegoAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff was seriously injured in a collision between his vehicle and another that occurred at an intersection in San Diego County. Plaintiff and his wife sued the County for maintaining an allegedly dangerous condition of public property, claiming that the design and construction of the intersection where the accident occurred afforded inadequate visibility under applicable County design standards. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the County on the basis of design immunity. The Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding that the County had established the defense of design immunity for the purpose of summary judgment. At issue before the Supreme Court was second element a public entity claiming design immunity must establish - discretionary approval. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the issue of the adequacy of the deliberative process with respect to design standards may be considered in connection with the court’s determination whether there is substantial evidence that the design was reasonable; and (2) the discretionary approval element does not require the public entity to demonstrate in its prima facie case that the employee who had authority to and did approve the plans also had authority to disregard applicable standards.