As many are aware, the California Supreme Court has identified several considerations involving liability for owners of premises by persons injured on the owner's property. See, Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2nd 108. However, one question that has arisen over time is whether there is a duty of care in the first place for injuries that occur off site, that is, for accidents involving an invitee who is injured while not on the owner's property. In the case of Aleksandr Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church (2016) 248 Cal.App.4th 146 ("Vasilenko"), the apparent answer to the question is yes.
In Vasilenko, plaintiff Aleksandr Vasilenko suffered injuries while crossing a busy five-lane road on his way from an overflow parking lot controlled and staffed by defendant Grace Family Church ("Grace Church") in order to attend a function at the church. Vasilenko filed sued against the Grace Church alleging that the Grace Church negligently located its overflow parking lot in an area that required invitees to cross a busy street where they may be hit by an automobile and by failing to protect him from that risk.
The Grace Church filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that no duty of care was owed because the accident occurred on a public street not owned or controlled by the Grace Church. The trial court granted summary judgment. On appeal, the Court of Appeal, Third District, reversed the grant of summary judgment holding that, while in most cases where there is no ownership or control of the situs of the accident, there can be no duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury, the duty of care to a property owner can extend for injuries suffered off site where, in this case, the location of the parking lot, not the location of the injury, could be construed to be the cause of the accident. In that regard, the Court of Appeal ruled that the "salient fact" involved whether the Grace Church controlled the location and operation of its overflow parking lot, which Vasilenko alleges caused or at least contributed to