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Garcia v. American Golf Corp.

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Two

May 3, 2017, Opinion Filed



 [**27]  ASHMANN-GERST, Acting P. J.—In this opinion, we hold that ] the trail immunity in Government Code section 831.43 does not immunize a dangerous condition of a commercially operated, revenue-generating public golf [*536]  course that causes injury to pedestrians on an adjacent trail. Consequently, we reverse the summary judgment entered in favor of City of Pasadena (City) on the claims by Jacobo G. Garcia (Jacobo) and his mother, Ana Pavon (Pavon; collectively appellants), that they [***2]  were injured by a dangerous condition of City owned property known as the Brookside Golf Course when Jacobo was hit by an errant golf ball on a walkway City contends is a trail.4


The Brookside Golf Course is owned by City and managed and operated by American Golf Corporation (American Golf) pursuant to a lease agreement. Within the Brookside Golf Course there are two 18-hole golf courses, the E.O. Nay Course and the C.W. Koiner Course.

The Rose Bowl Loop (Loop) is comprised of roadways (including West Drive) that encircle the Rose Bowl Stadium and the Brookside Golf Course. These roads provide access to recreational areas within the Central Arroyo Park and Brookside Park, including the golf course, stadium, a children's museum, tennis courts, aquatics center, baseball and soccer fields, equestrian facilities and open park space. People use the Loop for walking, jogging, skating and bicycling.

In 2001, after a person was hit by a golf ball outside the Brookside Golf Course, City erected safety nets at the 12th, 17th and 18th holes of the C.W. Koiner Course.

There is a 13-foot-wide pedestrian walkway (walkway) along the Loop. To distinguish it from the black asphalt roadway, the walkway [***3]  is light brown in color. Also, it is separated from the roadway by a 12-inch-wide white painted line as well as flexible delineators that City placed on the white line at 100 foot intervals. The Brookside Golf Course is separated from the walkway by a concrete wall topped by a chain-link fence. There are various chain-link gates in the fence that give motor  [**28]  vehicles access to the golf course for use as a parking lot during major events at the Rose Bowl. Both the fence and gates are approximately seven feet six inches high.5 Inside the Brookside Golf Course, posted on the fence surrounding it, there are warning signs that read: “NOTICE [¶] YOU ARE WITHIN A GOLF COURSE AREA. [¶] YOU [*537]  ASSUME THE RISK OF GOLF BALLS AND OTHER RECREATIONAL USERS.”

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11 Cal. App. 5th 532 *; 218 Cal. Rptr. 3d 25 **; 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 415 ***

JACOBO G. GARCIA, a Minor, etc., et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. AMERICAN GOLF CORPORATION et al., Defendants and Respondents.

Subsequent History: Review denied by, Request denied by, 08/09/2017

Prior History:  [***1] APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. GC050056, Howard L. Halm, Judge.

Disposition: Reversed.


trail, golf course, dangerous condition, immunity, golf ball, walkway, fence, public property, public entity, adjacent, errant, Loop, pedestrians, hit, recreational, warning sign, barriers, erected, signs, warning, Golf, installed, bikeway, dog, summary judgment, design immunity, pathway, trial court, guardrails, injuries

Torts, Premises & Property Liability, General Premises Liability, Dangerous Conditions, Public Entity Liability, Immunities, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Legal Entitlement, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Dangerous Conditions, Duty to Warn, Assumption of Risk, Elements & Nature, Primary Assumption of Risk, Secondary Assumption of Risk, Liability, State Tort Claims Acts, Employees