November 13, 2017

No duty arises from church’s location of across-the-street overflow parking area

In Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church, the Supreme Court today holds that a church owed no duty of care to help a plaintiff cross a street between a church and the church’s overflow parking lot across the street.  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy filed an amicus brief in this case.]  The court’s unanimous opinion by Justice Goodwin Liu comes with some caveats:  “a landowner does not have a duty to assist invitees in crossing a public street when the landowner does no more than site and maintain a parking lot that requires invitees to cross the street to access the landowner’s premises, so long as the street’s dangers are not obscured or magnified by some condition of the landowner’s premises or by some action taken by the landowner.”

The court finds no duty even though it acknowledges “the landowner has  increased its invitees’ exposure to the specific dangers of that particular street crossing and has thereby increased the likelihood that the invitee will encounter harm at that crossing.”

The court reverses the Third District Court of Appeal.

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