California Supreme Court Sides With Firm’s Store Owner Client
August 08th, 2015/By Admin/In Appellate and Writs, Business/Intellectual Property Law, Firm News, General Litigation, Locations, Los Angeles
The California Supreme Court denied a Petition for Review brought by an adversary plaintiff, challenging a California Court of Appeal decision to issue a Peremptory Writ of Mandate directing the Trial Court to set aside its order denying a Motion for Summary Judgment (“MSJ”) filed by the Firm on behalf of a store owner client.
In this case, plaintiff sought to hold the Firm’s store owner client liable in negligence for loss of property as a result of plaintiff’s claim that while shopping at the client’s store, her wallet was stolen by an unidentified Hispanic male and an unidentified Hispanic female accomplice. Plaintiff claimed that the Firm’s store owner client “failed to take adequate safety or security precautions to protect against these foreseeable criminal acts.”
In opposing plaintiff’s Petition for Review to the California Supreme Court, Tharpe & Howell argued that the Petition was unsupported by the facts and applicable law, on both the issue of duty as well as the issue causation. Specifically, we contended that the undisputed facts mandated that the Court of Appeal’s decision to grant defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment be upheld because the Firm’s client did not owe and/or breach a duty of care to protect plaintiff from the alleged unforeseeable criminal acts of third parties while she was present on its premises and, thereafter, to allow her to use its facilities as a mere convenience to contact her bank.
In addition, Tharpe & Howell contended that the factual circumstances surrounding the subject incident and the absence of evidence mandated that the Court of Appeal’s decision to grant defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment be upheld on the additional grounds that plaintiff cannot establish a causal connection between any act or omission by the Firm’s store owner client and plaintiff’s claimed loss (i.e. causation).
The California Supreme Court agreed with our Firm, finding that our store owner client carried its burden of proof to negate the elements of duty and causation and, as a result, upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision to grant the Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of the Firm’s store owner client.