Sacramento Partner Peter Dye and Associate Jay Patterson squelch a fire lawsuit at summary judgment stage.
KNCH represented the owner and property manager of a residential rental property where plaintiff lived as a tenant, which caught fire and destroyed the premises where plaintiff was living. Plaintiff was not at the property when the fire started and alleged that the owner and property manager were negligent in causing the fire. After a round of written discovery and deposition of the plaintiff, KNCH filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, asserting that plaintiff could not satisfy three essential elements of negligence; duty, breach and causation. Peter and Jay established that an outdoor couch was the source of the fire, but neither the fire investigators nor plaintiff could determine the actual cause of the fire. Further, Peter and Jay established 1) that plaintiff failed to notify their clients of the alleged dangerous condition (the outdoor couch), and 2) the couch did not constitute a dangerous condition, such that KNCH’s clients never had a duty to remedy a dangerous condition. The court agreed on the issue of duty and granted the motion.