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Trivial Defect Doctrine

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This decision affirms a summary judgment for defendant in a slip and fall case based on the trivial defect doctrine.  The discontinuity between the sidewalk and PG&E's manhole cover was less than an inch vertically.  There was nothing that concealed the discontinuity of the pavement from view.  The fact that the sidewalk was on a steep hill did not make… Read More

This decision extensively analyzes the trivial defect doctrine as applied to sidewalk discontinuities.  It rejects the defendant city's argument that the 1-3/4" discontinuity in this case was trivial as a matter of law.  A defect of that height generally is left to the jury to evaluate.  Also, the court's holistic consideration of other surrounding circumstances led it to reject the… Read More

In this case involving a slip-and-fall on a sidewalk on defendant's property, the trial court erred in granting the defendant summary judgment under the trivial defect doctrine.  Defendant failed to meet his initial burden of showing the discontinuity of pavement was a trivial defect, providing only a declaration that stated the conclusion that the separation was less than an inch… Read More

Summary judgment was properly entered for the defendant in this slip and fall accident on a public sidewalk.  The trivial defect doctrine applied to shield the city from liability.  The discontinuity between slabs of sidewalk paving over which plaintiff tripped was at most 3/4ths of an inch.  There were no other factors adding to the dangerousness of that condition.  Plaintiff… Read More