Ordinarily, a person has no legal duty to come to the aid of another. But if a person does come to the aid of another, and does so without exercising reasonable care, that person may be responsible for any damages caused by a negligent undertaking theory of liability. Here, the trial court improperly granted summary judgment because factual questions existed as to the nature and extent of the defendant’s undertaking and whether it negligently performed that undertaking. Plaintiff’s husband called the front desk of a hotel, asking them to check on his wife in her room because she was not answering his telephone calls. The front desk said the hotel would do so and delegated the task to a maintenance worker employed by defendant Hospitality Staffing Solutions. The worker checked on the room but didn’t see the wife who was on the floor breathing raggedly as a result of the bursting of a brain aneurysm. Her husband eventually rescued her, but the delay worsened her condition. A reasonable trier of fact might infer that the worker assumed a duty to check on whether the wife was in her hotel room, and if she was there, why she was not answering the phone. If the worker had such a duty, the scope of his duty would depend on the nature of the harm that was foreseeable. All of which raised triable issues of material fact that could not be resolved on summary judgment.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three (Moore, J.); January 31, 2018; 2018 WL 632266.