A student falls on ice as a result of taking a shortcut across campus through a loading dock area that has not been cleared. The loading dock area is cleared after snows, but it is the last area to be cleared on campus because it is not a sidewalk passage. All sidewalks receive first priority. The fall happened within the first 24 hours after the snowfall. Is the school liable?


There is a special relationship between a school district (or its employees) and students, so as to impose an affirmative duty on the district/employees to take reasonable steps to protect students from reasonably foreseeable risks of harm. : Notwithstanding the special relationship between a school district and students, Ed.C. § 44808 immunizes school districts from liability for certain injuries to students that occur off-premises. Ordinarily, these are fact questions. However, courts may conclude as a matter of law that a condition is not dangerous if no reasonable person would consider it posed a substantial risk of injury when the property is used with due care in a reasonably foreseeable manner. In one case, a trial court erred in holding several half-to-one-inch-deep potholes that caused a pedestrian to trip and fall were “trivial” and hence not dangerous as a matter of law: The issue should have been submitted to a jury. [Stathoulis v. City of Montebello (2008) 164 CA4th 559, 566–570, 78 CR3d 910, 915–918]. It would be best to seek personal assistance from a lawyer for purposes of filing a personal injury claim.

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