Juge v. County of Sacramento

12 Cal. App. 4th 59, 15 Cal. Rptr. 2d 598 (1993)

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Juge v. County of Sacramento

California Court of Appeal
12 Cal. App. 4th 59, 15 Cal. Rptr. 2d 598 (1993)

Facts

Juge (plaintiff) lost control of his bicycle rounding the El Manto curve on the American River Bicycle Trail and crashed into an oncoming bicyclist, which resulted in Juge becoming quadriplegic. Juge sued the County of Sacramento (defendant), alleging negligence and premises liability. Juge specifically alleged that the county failed to use statutorily mandated specifications for bike trails, which created a dangerous condition of public property that proximately caused Juge’s injuries. The county moved for summary judgment on grounds that its design was protected by design immunity and the statutory bike-trail specifications did not apply. The county submitted a statement of material facts, including that Juge was biking at a speed of 10 to 12 mph at the time of the accident and that a speed of 13 mph or less was a safe speed when negotiating the El Manto curve. The county also submitted portions of Juge’s deposition testimony that he had been traveling between 10 and 12 mph; a declaration of another bicyclist who testified that Juge did not enter the curve rapidly; and a declaration of a traffic engineer that a speed of 13 mph or less is a proper and safe design speed for the curve. In opposition, Juge did not deny his speed but submitted the declaration of a traffic engineer that using a 20-mph speed, the curve would require a radius of 60 feet and a sight distance of 125 feet. After giving the parties notice of how it was going to rule and a hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment, finding that the county had negated the element of causation because Juge’s evidence did support the conclusion that the design was inadequate for speeds of 13 mph or less, which Juge did not dispute was the speed at which he was travelling. Juge appealed and argued that the trial court lacked authority to grant summary judgment on grounds not explicitly alleged by the parties.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scotland, J.)

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