California Supreme Court Watch

Feb 10, 2021
Hoffmann v. Young, S266003.

#21-48 Hoffmann v. Young, S266003. (B292539; 56 Cal.App.5th 1021; San Luis Obispo County Superior Court; 16CVP0060.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment in a civil action. This case presents the following issue: Can an invitation to enter by a non-landowner — here, the landowner’s child — that was made without the landowner’s knowledge or express approval satisfy the requirements of Civil Code section 846, subdivision (d)(3), and abrogate the landowner’s immunity from liability for damages suffered during permissive recreational use of the property?

Review granted: 2/10/2021

Case fully briefed: 7/29/2021

Cause argued and submitted: 6/8/2022

Opinion filed: Judgment reversed: 8/29/2022

See the Court of Appeal Opinion.

See the Petition for Review.

See the Oral Argument.

See the California Supreme Court Opinion.  (Hoffmann v. Young et al. (2022) 13 Cal.5th 1257.)

“Under Civil Code section 846, landowners generally owe no duty of care to keep their property safe for others who may enter or use it for recreational purposes. There is an exception to that statutory negation of duty, however, when a landowner expressly invites someone onto the property. The question here is whether that exception applies when the invitation is extended, not by the landowners, but by their live-at-home child who acts without the owners’ knowledge or permission. The trial court ruled that the exception did not apply because there was no evidence the landowners personally invited the plaintiff to come onto their land. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that an invitation by a landowner’s live-at-home child operates to activate the exception unless the child has been prohibited from making the invitation. (Hoffmann v. Young (2020) 56 Cal.App.5th 1021,1024 (Hoffmann).) Neither court interpreted the statute correctly. Here, we hold that a plaintiff may rely on the exception and impose liability if there is a showing that a landowner, or an agent acting on his or her behalf, extended an express invitation to come onto the property. Plaintiff did not meet that burden below. We reverse the Court of Appeal’s judgment and remand the matter as explained.” (Fn. omitted.)

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

Justice Kruger filed a concurring opinion, in which Justices Liu and Groban concurred.