12 Actions Cities Can Take to Mitigate Tort Liability

Cities get sued. A lot. One of the most common kinds of lawsuits against a city arises from injuries caused by an allegedly dangerous condition of city property (like a sidewalk, road, or trail in a city park). Although it may not always be possible to avoid lawsuits based on the dangerous condition of city property, there are actions a city can take to at least make them easier to defend. This list may also be useful to plaintiff’s counsel going on the offensive.  Shift liability to adjacent owners. Consider enacting an ordinance to impose liability on adjacent property owners for injuries to persons resulting from dangerous conditions on sidewalks. See Str & H C §5610; Gonzales v City of San Jose (2004) 125 CA4th 1127. Of course there are policy and political implications with enacting such an ordinance. Document reasons for actions outside of guidelines. Be aware of which procedure manuals, guidelines, or policies are…

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