California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

1007. Sidewalk Abutting Property

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1007.Sidewalk Abutting Property
[An owner of/A lessee of/An occupier of/One who controls] property
must avoid creating an unsafe condition on the surrounding public
streets or sidewalks.
New September 2003
Sources and Authority
• Generally, absent statutory authority to the contrary, a landowner is under no
duty to maintain in a safe condition a public street or sidewalk abutting his
property (Sexton v. Brooks (1952) 39 Cal.2d 153, 157 [245 P.2d 496]).
However, “[a]n abutting owner has always had a duty to refrain from
affirmative conduct which would render the sidewalk dangerous to the public.”
(Selger v. Steven Brothers, Inc. (1990) 222 Cal.App.3d 1585, 1592 [272
Cal.Rptr. 544], internal citations omitted.)
• The occupier must maintain his or her land in a manner so as not to injure the
users of an abutting street or sidewalk. (Swanberg v. O’Mectin (1984) 157
Cal.App.3d 325, 330 [203 Cal.Rptr. 701]; Lompoc Unified School Dist. v.
Superior Court (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1688, 1693 [26 Cal.Rptr.2d 122].)
• “An ordinance requiring the abutting landowner to maintain the sidewalk would
be construed to create a duty of care to third persons only if the ordinance
clearly and unambiguously so provided.” (Selger, supra, 222 Cal.App.3d at p.
1590, internal citations omitted.)
• “Persons who maintain walkways—whether public or private—are not required
to maintain them in absolutely perfect condition. ‘The duty of care imposed on
a property owner, even one with actual notice, does not require the repair of
minor defects.’ The rule is no less applicable in a privately owned townhome
development. Moreover, what constitutes a minor defect may be a question of
law.” (Cadam v. Somerset Gardens Townhouse HOA (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th
383, 388–389 [132 Cal.Rptr.3d 617], internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 1090–1093
Friedman et al., California Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant, Ch. 6-A, Liability For
Defective Conditions On Premises, ¶ 6:1 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
Friedman et al., California Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant, Ch. 6-B, Landlord
Liability For Injuries From Acts Of Others, ¶ 6:48 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
1 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 15, General Premises Liability, § 15.03[4]
(Matthew Bender)
11 California Real Estate Law and Practice, Ch. 381, Tort Liability of Property
Owners, § 381.03 (Matthew Bender)
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0022
17 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 178, Premises Liability, § 178.29
(Matthew Bender)
PREMISES LIABILITY CACI No. 1007
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