(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this trip and fall/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
ABC HOTEL IS NOT LIABLE FOR PLAINTIFF’S FALL OR HER INJURY
ABC Hotel Owed No Duty To Warn Plaintiff Of The Location Of Her And Her Companion’s Luggage In The Hotel Suite
The duty to warn extends only to those conditions (1) which are dangerous and (2) which the defendant created or which the defendant had control over and sufficient notice in advance of any accident. Ortega v. Kmart Corporation (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1200, 1212. The duty to warn does not extend to conditions which are open and obvious. Daniely v. Goldmines Ski Associates, Inc. (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 111, 121.
The Stack Of Luggage Did Not Constitute A Dangerous Condition
Slips, trips and falls “are not so likely to be the result of negligence as to justify a presumption to that effect.” Brown v. Poway Unified School Dist. (1993) 4 Cal.4th 820, 826; Akins v. County of Sonoma (1967) 67 Cal.2d 185, 195. It is, therefore, incumbent upon plaintiff to.prove, as an essential element of her claim, that the condition upon which she fell was dangerous or defective. Laird v. T. W. Mather, Inc. (1958) 51 Cal.2d 210, 220.
A condition is considered dangerous or defective only if it presents an unreasonable risk of harm to persons using the premises in a foreseeable manner. Akins, supra, 67 Cal.2d at 193; BAJI 8.21. In other words, a dangerous condition must be one which a person of ordinary prudence should have foreseen would appreciably enhance the risk of harm. Constance B. v. State of California (1986) 178 Cal.App.3d 200, 209.
The seven to eight pieces of black luggage over which plaintiff tripped as she blindly walked backwards cannot be considered a dangerous condition under the undisputed facts present in this case. The luggage was in plain sight for all to see. Moreover, the luggage easily contrasted against the well-illuminated room and brightly colored surroundings. Any person walking in a forward direction and paying reasonable (or any) attention to their surroundings would notice a large volume of luggage stacked together.
Notably, the volume of luggage (which consisted of duffle bags, garment bags and rolling bags) in the instant case created a sizeable mass, which can be compared to a smaller or low lying piece of furniture. However, hotel furniture like coffee tables, loveseat couches, chairs or beds, are not considered dangerous conditions. They are items, like luggage, which are commonly found and expected to be within a hotel suite. To suggest that a stack of luggage which is open view is dangerous, is to propose that transitory hotel furniture should be considered dangerous conditions thereby imposing liability on the hotel every time a guest stubs their toe, knocks their knee or trips. This is simply not the law. See e.g. Constance, supra, 178 Cal.App.3d at 209. The stack of luggage, like the Hotel’s furniture in the suite, was in plain sight, and could not constitute a dangerous condition. Therefore, plaintiff has not and cannot prove that her and her companions’ large stack of luggage created a dangerous condition. (See Part 4 of 8.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.