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Court Upholds Government Trail Immunity for Private Landowner

Court Upholds Government Trail Immunity for Private Landowner

As I’ve discussed on these pages before, California provides immunity to government entities for injuries that occur on public trails and property.

Last week, the California Court of Appeal upheld a case which applied trail immunity to a private landowner.  The case is Leyva v. Crockett & Co.

Miguel Leyva was hiking on a trail adjacent to a private golf course in San Diego.  The trail belongs to the golf course owner, who granted an easement so the public could use the trail.

While hiking on the trail, an errant golf ball near the 13th hole slammed into Mr. Leyva’s face, causing him to lose 80% of the sight in his left eye.

Mr. Leyva sued the golf club owner, arguing that the club should’ve erected a larger fence to box in flying golf balls and prevent the injuries that he suffered.

The Court disagreed.  The trial court granted summary judgment for the club owner, holding that the immunity of Government Code section 831.4 applies.

831.4 holds that a “grantor of a public easement to a public entity. . . is not liable for an injury caused by a condition of” any trail providing access to a recreational area.  This immunity is absolute, and applies to Miguel Leyva’s case.

Sad case, with sad facts.

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