Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Perryman v. County of Los Angeles (Cal. Ct. App. - July 31, 2007)

Okay, I agree that public entities can't be liable except as provided by statute. Sovereign immunity and stuff. And I also agree that there's no express statute that requires a coroner, who was given the body of a drive-by shooting victim to autopsy, to refrigerate or embalm a corpse. So, if s/he doesn't feel like doing it, and leaves the body to sit and rot for a week, resulting in massive decomposition and grief for the family when they are finally allowed to retrieve (and view!) the body, there's no lawsuit.

Okay, I get that. I can see a contrary argument that the body is actually "property" and hence that letting the property waste away conflicts with various property/bailee statutes and/or is a taking. But I understand that this would be a pretty novel theory, and one that the California Court of Appeal isn't likely to adopt. So I see how this case comes out the way it does.

Still. Doesn't exactly make you want to head on over to the L.A. County Coroner's Office, huh?

(Not that this was a desperate desire of mine in the first place, mind you.)