CACI No. 1007. Sidewalk Abutting Property

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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1007.Sidewalk Abutting Property
[An owner of/An occupier of/One who controls] property must avoid
creating an unsafe condition on the surrounding public streets or
New September 2003; Revised December 2022
Sources and Authority
“It is the general rule that in the absence of a statute a landowner is under no
duty to maintain in a safe condition a public street abutting upon his property.
There is, however, an exception to this rule . . . . It has been held that an
abutting owner is liable for the condition of portions of the public sidewalk
which he has altered or constructed for the benefit of his property and which
serve a use independent of and apart from the ordinary and accustomed use for
which sidewalks are designed.” (Sexton v. Brooks (1952) 39 Cal.2d 153, 157
[245 P.2d 496], internal citation omitted.)
“An abutting owner has always had a duty to refrain from doing an affirmative
act 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.)
“[A] landowner may face liability for injury to another, incurred outside of the
formers property (on an adjacent street), if the injury is found to be caused by a
traffic obstruction in the form of shrubbery growing from the property.”
(Swanberg v. O’Mectin (1984) 157 Cal.App.3d 325, 330 [203 Cal.Rptr. 701].)
“The occupier of real property owes a duty to exercise ordinary care in the use
and management of his or her land. The occupier must maintain such land in a
manner as to not injure the users of an abutting street or sidewalk.” (Lompoc
Unified School Dist. v. Superior Court (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1688, 1693 [26
Cal.Rptr.2d 122], internal citations omitted.)
“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 (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1231-1234
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 Neil M. Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 15, General Premises Liability,
§ 15.03[4] (Matthew Bender, Rev. Ed.)
11 California Real Estate Law & Practice, Ch. 381, Tort Liability of Property
Owners, § 381.03 (Matthew Bender)
17 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 178, Premises Liability, § 178.29 (Matthew

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