Key Decisions

November 2013 – The County Was Immune From Suit

(filed under: Key Decisions | November 20, 2013)

The County Was Immune From Suit

Meddock. v. County of Yolo
(Cal. Ct. of App., 3d Dist.), filed September 10, 2013, published October 13, 2013

A Fremont cottonwood tree fell on Dwight Meddock while he was in a paved parking lot located in a park along the Sacramento River owned by the County of Yolo. Based on a theory that there was a dangerous condition of public property, Meddock and his wife sued the County as a result of his injuries.

The trial court granted summary judgment for the County, applying a statutory immunity for injuries “caused by a natural condition of any unimproved public property.” (Cal. Gov. Code, § 831.2.)

The Court of Appeal affirmed. It concluded that Meddock’s injuries were “caused by” a “natural condition” of unimproved property where the tree grew. The fact the tree fell on improved property did not take the case outside the ambit of the statutory immunity.