Court rules City of Los Angeles Not Responsible for Plaintiff’s Injury from Convention Center Pillar

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The Court of Appeal for Los Angeles renders that the injuries that were sustained by a plaintiff as a result of walking into a pillar is not the fault of the City of Los Angeles.

Cynthia Dobbs who was the injured party and Kenneth Dobbs, her husband sought to overturn the decision of a lower court on the claims by Ms. Dobbs that she should be awarded compensation for the injury that she sustained from walking into a pillar.

The court of appeal confirmed a summary judgment ruling against Ms. Dobbs in a slip and fall lawsuit against Los Angeles.. explains the consequences if somebody gets injured on your property but which didn’t apply to the City of Los Angeles in this particular case.

Premises Liability claim

Accidents caused by unsafe property are considered “premises liability” accidents either inside or outside the building. These can occur in residential or commercial buildings or public properties. However, Ms Dobbs would have saved a lot of time and money if she had contacted such a premises liability attorney who would have advised her on the futility of her appeal.

The Division Eight Judge, Justice John Shepard Wiley Jr. wrote that prudence is incorporated in Tort law and any individual will be responsible for any collision with a huge and obvious concrete pillar.

This point of view supports the decision made by Judge Marc R. Marmaro, a former Superior Court Judge, who is currently a private judge.

The action was initiated by the victim of the injury, Cynthia Dobbs on July 11, 2016, together with her husband, Kenneth Dobbs who also alleged a loss of consortium. Marmaro, on the 16th of March 2018, held the City’s right to pursuant to the affirmative defense of design immunity.

Wiley’s point of view

Wiley stated the below points in a brief motion that is in support of Marmaro:

The deciding factor, in this case, is to be observant of which route you take in broad daylight. Cynthia Dobbs collided with a circular concrete pillar that is 17.5 inches tall and wide. A series of these bare pillars which is otherwise known as bollards safeguards the Convention Center in Los Angeles against car bombs. They are as high as the normal coffee table. Dobbs collided with one of them and filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles due to the presence of bollards that resulted in her slip and fall.

More than two million individuals come to the Convention center annually. Over 50 bollards are present in front of its south hall. No individual has ever filed an alleged injury claim for about nine years now before the Dobb’s mishap.

The case details

Wiley indicated that in 2015, the California Supreme court in Hampton vs. County of San Diego, the notion of the high court in the state Cornette vs. Department of Transportation stated that:

The three elements that must be established before a public body can claim design immunity are:
1. A free association between the accident and the design or plan
2. A discretionary certification of approval of the design or plan before commencing construction and
3. A tangible proof that backs up the design or plan.

The rationality of the element

Wiley stated that the first element was because it has been acknowledged in the controversy. He also indicated that the manager approved the design.

Concerning the rationality of the element, he stated that:

Very important proof incorporates the appearance of the bollards on the pavement. It stops cars from entering the building. Pedestrians can identify the concrete structure in their way. No other evidence could be more rational.

Dobbs filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles, 2018 S.O.S 3190.

Raymond Ghermezian represented Cynthia and Kenneth Dobbs. The representatives of the city of Los Angeles are Ladell Hulet Muhlestein and Sevan Gobel from the Los Angeles firm of Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester.