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Treweek v. City of Napa

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

December 4, 2000, Decided

No. A087820.

Opinion

 [*222]  [**884]   KLINE, P. J. 

INTRODUCTION

"An object is what it is." So stated the Court of Appeal in Farnham v. City of Los Angeles (1998) 68 Cal. App. 4th 1097 [80 Cal. Rptr. 2d 720], waiving  [*223]  aside concerns that its broad definition of "trail" under Government Code section 831.4, 1 would result in expansion of the term beyond recognition, providing a governmental entity "the incentive to call anything it wishes a 'trail' in order to qualify for section [***2]  831.4 immunity." (68 Cal. App. 4th at p. 1103.) Here, we are confronted with the question whether a public boat dock ramp is unquestionably a "trail," immunizing a city from liability for the ramp's failure. We conclude that the ramp itself is not a "trail" under section 831.4 and that therefore the trial court erred in granting judgment on the pleadings on that ground.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Marguerite Treweek (appellant) filed a complaint against the City of Napa (City), alleging she was injured as she walked from the Napa City Dock located near the intersection of Third and Main Streets, across a boat ramp, when the ramp failed and gave way, causing her to fall. She alleged City neglected its duty to maintain the dock and the ramp in a safe condition. City asserted various immunities, including that it was immune from liability pursuant to section 831.4, asserting that the boat ramp was a recreational [***3]  "trail" as defined in the statute. On the ground that under section 831.4 City could not be held liable for injuries caused by a condition of the ramp, the trial court granted City's motion for judgment on the pleadings, dismissed appellant's complaint without leave to amend and entered judgment in favor of City. Appellant appealed. 2 

DISCUSSION

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85 Cal. App. 4th 221 *; 101 Cal. Rptr. 2d 883 **; 2000 Cal. App. LEXIS 921 ***; 2000 Cal. Daily Op. Service 9648; 2000 Daily Journal DAR 12873

MARGUERITE TREWEEK, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CITY OF NAPA, Defendant and Respondent.

Prior History:   [***1]  Superior Court of Napa County. Super. Ct. No. 26-04155. Richard A. Bennett, Judge.

Disposition: The judgment is reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. Appellant is awarded her costs on this appeal.

CORE TERMS

trail, subdivision, ramp, immunity, recreational, recreational activity, paved, path, boat, dock, provide access, public entity, pleadings, riding, connecting, parking lot, purposes, italics, hiking, bicycle path, bike path, fishing, hunting, region, roads, provide immunity, Dictionary, unimproved, highway, track

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Demurrers, Judgments, Pretrial Judgments, General Overview, Judgment on Pleadings, Standards of Review, Local Governments, Claims By & Against, Real Property Law, Limited Use Rights, Easements, Public Easements, Torts, Public Entity Liability, Immunities, Strict Liability, Harm Caused by Animals, Transportation Law, Private Vehicles, Bicycles