Plaintiff v. Utility Company
Sedgwick won an affirmance by the California Court of Appeal of a summary judgment obtained by Sedgwick in favor of our client, a utility company, based upon California Civil Code section 846, the "recreational immunity" statute. Plaintiffs had sued our client, which operated a hydroelectric facility under license from the federal government in a national forest, after the decedent was killed in an accident at the forest. After Sedgwick had obtained summary judgment, the plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeal affirmed the summary judgment, ruling that: (1) the decedent was not an "invited" user, because general advertising and promotion do not constitute an express personal invitation as required by law; (2) plaintiff was not a "paying" user, because she paid no entrance fee and our client’s license does not constitute consideration for use as that term is construed in this context; and (3) Section 846 is not preempted by the terms of the license and federal regulations because there is no conflict between California tort law and our client’s obligations to the federal government.