The 2nd Appellate District in Montes v. Young Men’s Christian Assn. of Glendale, California (2022 Cal.App.LEXIS 677) recently reaffirmed the application of the ‘open and obvious’ defense to premises liability claims, especially as they related to trial following an unsuccessful motion for summary judgment raising the defense.LitigationLiability
In Montes, the decedent was 23 years old and a resident in the defendant property owner’s apartment building.
On New Year’s Eve, he ingested alcohol and marijuana and was driven home, then he informed the desk clerk he was ‘not feeling well’ and ‘was high.’ The desk clerk later observed him behaving erratically, getting on his knees to pray, rolling around against the wall, knocking down plants and knocking down a window curtain.
Hours later, the desk clerk observed the decedent lying on the hood of a car (presumably after falling from the roof); he was later pronounced dead. A wrongful death and survival action by the parents followed.
Defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the owner did not owe a legal duty and that the danger of someone falling from a roof was ‘open and obvious.’