Week of December 3, 2007

"The City nevertheless argues that the property was not in a dangerous condition because vehicles rarely hit hydrants at the terminal. This argument ignores the evidence that prior to the reconfiguration of the terminal, no hydrants were situated in the path of traffic. Rather, they were located in container storage areas out of the path of traffic. Thus, the absence of a large number of prior accidents involving fire hydrants would not be a material factor in determining whether the location of the hydrant was a dangerous condition. The City also points out that no other vehicles collided with this particular hydrant before or after Young’s accident. We find no significance to this fact. The hydrant was exposed to traffic for only 30 hours before Young’s accident and for two months after the accident. Following the accident, SSA requested that flashing barricades be installed in front of the hydrant until it could be relocated. It is not clear from the record whether such barricades were actually installed, but if so, such an obvious warning would undoubtedly have a bearing on the number of accidents."

Justice Kathryn Doi Todd
City of Long Beach v. Stevedoring Services of America (Dec. 4, 2007, B187003)