Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, January 12, 2024


Page 1


Americana at Brand Has No Liability to Man Struck by Teenager Falling to His Death—C.A.

Opinion Says Judge Whitaker Properly Considered Declaration Saying Business Records Reflect No Prior Incident


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed a summary judgment in favor of The Americana at Brand, a Glendale shopping and entertainment complex owned by attorney/businessman and unsuccessful Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick J. Caruso, in a premises liability lawsuit brought by a man who was struck by a 17-year-old when he jumped from the seventh floor of a parking structure.

The teenager was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker found that The Americana at Brand, LLC, Caruso Affiliated Holdings, LLC, and Caruso Property Management, LLC are not liable to the plaintiff, Yuan Xiao, for injuries he sustained on Aug. 2, 2019.

Whitaker’s Ruling

He explained:

“In considering the competent evidence proffered by Plaintiff and Defendants, and viewing said evidence most favorable toward Plaintiff, the Court finds that there are no triable issues of material fact. The Court further determines, as a matter of law, that Defendants owed no duty of care to Plaintiff and even if such duty of care is owed to Plaintiff, Defendants did not breach said duty of care by either allowing a dangerous condition on the property or failing to take reasonable steps to secure the property against wrongful acts by third parties.”

Taking into account a declaration by Manuk Michael Pashanyan, who was security director at The Americana since it opened in 2008, Whitaker held:

“Defendants’ evidence demonstrates that no similar incidents had previously occurred, and thus, does not indicate it was reasonably foreseeable that a person may jump from the parking structure in order to commit suicide. Further, Defendants’ evidence demonstrates Defendants complied with the applicable standard of care by adhering to, and in some measures exceeding, the applicable code requirements in the construction of the shopping center and parking structure.”

Baker’s Opinion

In yesterday’s unpublished opinion upholding the judgment, Justice Lamar Baker of Div. Five wrote:

“Strictly speaking, the duty question is not before us. Instead, we are asked to decide a related but narrow evidentiary question: was the trial court correct to admit evidence that a search of records revealed there had been no prior similar incident on the premises?”

Answering the question, he said:

“[A] business record may be inadmissible because it includes too much information, but the absence of a business record does not present this problem.

“We therefore hold the trial court acted within its discretion when admitting and subsequently relying on evidence that no prior similar incidents occurred at the Americana. That resolves our task in this appeal.”

The case is Xiao v. Americana at Brand, B322567.

Arnold W. Gross and Eddie Tehrani of State Law Firm represented Xiao and Theresa A. Kristovich of Kabat Chapman & Ozmer acted for the defendants.


Copyright 2024, Metropolitan News Company