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Earth Movement/ Landslide Liability

Recent rains in California have created many areas of land instability. Landslides are the most obvious results of unstable earth. However, saturated soils have also resulted in more subtle concerns, namely subsidence or expansion of soils.

With respect to landslides, what is the liability of an uphill owner when a landslide occurs and the lower property is damaged? The case of Sprecher v. Adamson (1981) 30 Cal. 3rd 358 sets forth the California authority in this regard. In Sprecher, the California Supreme Court rejected the common law approach to landslides, and determined that the test was whether the adjacent owner acted as a "reasonable person" in view of the probability of injury. Did the owner act as a reasonable person in the management of its land under the circumstances? The factors to consider include the likelihood of injury to the injured owner, the probable seriousness of the injury, the burden of reducing risk, the location of the land, and the degree of control over the risk creating condition.

The Law Office of Bryan R. Snyder specializes in cases related to earth movement. Please call for a free consultation.

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