Thursday, February 27, 2014

Johnson v. Prasad (Cal. Ct. App. - Feb. 25, 2014)

The Swimming Pool Safety Act requires many residential pools to have various safety features (e.g., alarms or a fence).  But it only applies to pools constructed or remodeled after 2007.  So lots of pools aren't covered.

Landlord rents a single family home to Tenants.  The property has a backyard pool.  Tenants get together at the home with members of their family.  Grandmother forgets to close the back sliding glass door, which is the only access to the pool from the house.  Four-year old Allen slips out of the home, unnoticed, and drowns in the pool.

Is Landlord potentially liable for the child's death?

Justice Robie and the Court of Appeal hold:  Yes.

According to the Court of Appeal, a jury could reasonably conclude that a landlord owes a duty to put up a net or other safety features, notwithstanding the fact that the statute doesn't require it.  The Court of Appeal simultaneously holds that a jury could also reasonably go the other way.  It's a jury question.  No summary judgment.

A critical case for a huge number of people in Southern California.  As well as throughout the state.