Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Rowland (Plaintiff), was injured when a cracked handle on a water faucet broke while Plaintiff was using the Defendant, Christian’s (Defendant) bathroom. Defendant knew of the faulty handle, but failed to inform Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit for injuries.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. California abolishes the traditional classifications of trespassers, licensees and invitees and instead applies ordinary principles of negligence in these cases.
Issue. Was the trial court correct in granting summary judgment for the Defendant based on Plaintiff’s status as a licensee?
Held. No. Judgment reversed.
* Based on historical considerations placing land ownership in a disproportionately high place, this and other courts have generally departed from the concept that an individual is liable for injuries caused by his carelessness. The categorization of injured parties as trespassers, licensees, and invitees produces confusion and conflict and are not justified in our modern society.
* The traditional classifications do not reflect the major factors, which should determine when immunity should be conferred. Some of these factors include the closeness of the connection between the injury and the defendant’s conduct, the moral blame attached to defendant’s conduct, the policy of preventing future harm, and prevalence and availability of insurance.
* The Court overturns these traditional classifications and instead will apply ordinary principles of negligence in cases such as the one at hand. In the present case, viewing the facts in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, a trier of fact could reasonably have concluded that a failure to warn or repair the condition constituted negligence.
In California, the general rule is that all persons have a duty to use ordinary care to prevent others from being injured as the result of their conduct.View Full Point of Law