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Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Wrongful Death


In a published opinion, the Second Appellate District, Division Eight, affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in parents wrongful death lawsuit for son’s fall from roof.

Los Angeles Superior Court granted summary judgment in an action involving a deadly fall from the five story roof of defendant’s building. OLG secured summary judgment for the building owner on a defense of open and obvious condition – where Plaintiffs could not show a “practical necessity” of decedent encountering the alleged danger. Plaintiffs appealed.

Decedent fell to his death from the steep, sloped roof of a residential building where he lived.  Decedent had been drinking and had eaten a marijuana brownie earlier, was feeling high, and had been acting erratically before the fall. It was undisputed that there was an “open and obvious risk” from the roof sloped at a steep angle and covered with brittle, broken, slippery and unstable Spanish tiles.  It was also undisputed that there was no practical necessity for decedent to be on the roof.  The appellate court found that defendant owed no duty of care to decedent, and his parents cannot prevail on their wrongful death claims based on premises liability and negligence.  The trial court’s grant of summary judgment for defendant was affirmed.