California Supreme Court Watch

Jan 22, 2020
Presbyterian Camp & Conference Centers, Inc. v. Superior Court, S259850.

#20-22 Presbyterian Camp & Conference Centers, Inc. v. Superior Court, S259850. (B297195; 42 Cal.App.5th 148, mod. 42 Cal.App.5th 1173a; Santa Barbara County Superior Court; 18CV02968.)  Petition for review after the Court of Appeal denied a petition for peremptory writ of mandate. This case presents the following issue: Can a corporation be held liable under Health and Safety Code sections 13009 and 13009.1 for the costs of suppressing and investigating fires that its agents or employees negligently or illegally set, allowed to be set, or allowed to escape?

Petition for review granted: 1/22/2020

Opinion filed: Affirmed in full with directions: 12/27/2021

See the California Court of Appeal Order.

See the Petition for Review.

See the California Supreme Court Opinion.  (Presbyterian Camp & Conference Centers, Inc. v. Superior Court (2021) 12 Cal.5th 493.)

“The question before us is whether a corporation like Presbyterian can be held vicariously liable for the cost of suppressing fires that its agents or employees negligently or unlawfully set or allowed to escape. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal, although our holding answers a narrower question than the one originally presented; we hold that sections 13009 and 13009.1 incorporate the common law theory of respondeat superior. As the parties focused their briefing on this theory and did not comprehensively address other types of vicarious liability, we do not reach the incorporation of vicarious liability generally.”

Justice Groban authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Corrigan, Liu, Kruger, Jenkins, and Mauro, J. concurred