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Premises Liability

Walsworth’s premises liability team represents retailers, restaurants, landlords, homeowner’s associations, property management companies, public entities and individuals in a wide variety of claims. Because these claims often involve emotional factual settings and complex legal issues, Walsworth draws on its experience, while remaining attuned to developments in the law, to proactively counsel clients on risk prevention, assessment and management.

We represent clients in a wide range of traditional premises liability claims, including:

  • Premises defects
  • Construction and workplace accidents
  • Improper maintenance
  • Inadequate security
  • Malfunctioning escalators and elevators
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Scaffold and ladder accidents
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Tortious and sexual assault
  • Excessive force
  • Art preservation
  • Environmental clean-up
  • Property damage
  • Breach of warranty of habitability

We also represent clients in a broad spectrum of toxic tort claims, including:

  • Mold exposure
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Lead exposure
  • Radiation exposure
  • Chemical exposure

In addition, we represent clients in less traditional premises liability claims, including:

  • Explosions involving refinery equipment, cryogenic tanks, and other pressure vessels
  • Invasion of privacy of customers in restrooms
  • False imprisonment and slander from accusations of shoplifting and prostitution
  • Power plant electrocutions
  • Changing features of underwater environments
  • Crane accidents

Representative Successes

  • Westrup v. Hardy & Harper – Defense verdict for a paving contractor in a slip and fall accident in a school parking lot which occurred shortly after the contractor had resurfaced the asphalt in the lot.
  • McGrath v. ARMC – Non-suit was granted to a ready mix concrete company in this premises liability action. Plaintiff was the driver of a bottom dump truck making a delivery to a concrete plant. He parked his truck in line with several others in the center divider lanes of a street as they waited to turn left onto the plant premises. Plaintiff got out of his truck and was talking to other drivers near the first truck in line when the driver of that truck made his left turn into the plant, running over plaintiff’s foot and causing serious injuries. The granting of non-suit was upheld on appeal in an unpublished opinion.
  • Ng v. Various Defendants – Successfully secured the dismissal of a premises client (hotel) in a personal injury product liability action venued in San Francisco County Superior Court wherein plaintiff alleged exposure to bath products.
  • Cox v. City of San Diego – Successfully represented the City of San Diego in a case where the plaintiff fell down the stairs at the San Diego Museum of Art, a 100-year old building with no handrails and an optical illusion camouflaging the stairs. We settled for a fraction of the demand.
  • Green v. Property Owner – Represented the property owner of a large commercial and retail center in Los Angeles in a case where a disabled woman in a wheelchair fell and broke her neck on the premises. Compliance with building codes and a prior accident at the same location were at issue. We successfully secured a settlement for a fraction of the 7-figure demand.
  • Thomas v. Tovey Construction – Plaintiff verdict in a construction accident case where the plaintiff fell down an elevator shaft. The net verdict was $600,000 below the final pre-trial demand. In addition, our general contractor client obtained full contractual indemnification from the primarily negligent subcontractor co-defendant.