Horvitz & Levy LLP represented a consortium of cities, counties, and their local transit authority, in this personal injury action alleging a dangerous condition of public property. A driver in Yuba County lost control of his van, which flew off a state highway, sailed through the adjoining strip of land, through trees and a fence, and hit plaintiff Nicholas Donaho while he was waiting at a bus stop on an adjacent frontage road. In addition to suing the driver, Donaho sued the State, a private bus company, and the local transit authority and its member government entities, claiming the bus stop’s location was a dangerous condition of public property that caused his injuries. The trial court granted summary judgment for the government agencies on the ground that the location of the bus stop presented at most a trivial risk of injury from errant cars veering off the freeway to persons waiting at the bus stop.
The California Court of Appeal (Third Appellate District) affirmed the defense judgment. The court held that, as a matter of law, under Government Code section 830.2 the government entities could not be held liable for a dangerous condition of public property because the risk of injury created by the condition was “minor, trivial or insignificant.” There had been no similar accident in the 15 years since the bus stop was built, despite the millions of vehicles that had passed by on the freeway.