Campbell v. Budd (Oct. 18, 2022, B306687) 2022 WL 10252427

A twelve-year-old child walked into a sliding glass door at a vacation rental and suffered significant injuries when the glass shattered.  The child and her parents sued the landlords for premises liability and negligence, alleging that they had failed to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition because the glass in the door was not tempered and the transparent glass door lacked warning labels to show it was closed.

The landlords moved for summary judgment.  In support of their motion, they submitted a declaration from a structural engineering expert who maintained the sliding door was not a hazardous condition at the time of the incident.  The building codes and ordinances in place when the sliding glass door was installed (when the house was built in 1958) did not require tempered glass.  In opposition, plaintiffs submitted an expert declaration opining that the landlords should have replaced the glass in the sliding door in 2005 when they replaced several other doors on the property and installed the pool.  The trial court granted the landlords’ summary judgment motion, finding that the landlords had no duty to replace the glass in the door with tempered glass or affix warning labels.  The trial court also sustained the landlords’ objections as to portions of the expert’s declaration.

The Court of Appeal affirmed.  It held that California law imposes no duty on landlords to identify and replace un-tempered sliding glass doors with tempered glass doors if the original glass doors were code-compliant when they were installed.  It also affirmed the trial court’s exclusion of certain opinions by plaintiffs’ expert because they lacked foundation and contained inappropriate legal conclusions.

To read the Court of Appeal opinion, click HERE.