Saelzler v. Advanced Grp. 400

25 Cal. 4th 763, 107 Cal. Rptr. 2d 617, 23 P.3d 1143 (2001)

 

RULE:

In performing its de novo review, the appellate court must view the evidence in a light favorable to the plaintiff as the losing party, liberally construing her evidentiary submission while strictly scrutinizing defendants’ own showing, and resolving any evidentiary doubts or ambiguities in plaintiff's favor.

FACTS:

Plaintiff delivery woman was assaulted and seriously injured on the premises during the daytime while attempting to deliver a package to defendants’ apartment complex. She brought a negligence action against defendants. The trial court granted summary judgment for defendants, finding that plaintiff failed to show that defendants' breach of duty to safeguard her was a proximate cause of her assault. The appellate court reversed, concluding that plaintiff's showing was sufficient to raise a triable causation issue for the jury. The state supreme court reversed the appellate court’s judgment and affirmed the trial court's award of summary judgment to defendants.

ISSUE:

Was the appellate court correct when it reversed the trial court’s decision, granting summary judgment in plaintiff’s negligence action against defendants, based on defendants’ lack of evidence showing the required security measures in their area?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Plaintiff failed to establish a sufficient causal connection between defendants' negligence and the assault. Plaintiff did not meet her burden under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 437c(o)(2) to produce evidence that defendants reasonably or effectively could have warned members of the public of unspecified dangers from unknown assailants frequenting the area.

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