Garcia v. D/AQ Corporation

Facts: A commercial tenant enters into a lease agreement which contains an exculpatory clause which states the landlord is not liable for injuries sustained by the tenant due to the condition of the building. The staircase on the premises violates building codes. The landlord does not inspect the premises for building code violations and the tenant makes no communication to the landlord about the condition of the staircase. The tenant falls down the staircase, sustaining injuries.

Claim: The tenant seeks money losses claiming the landlord was negligent since building code violations existed on the premises creating the dangerous condition which caused the tenant to be injured.

Counterclaim: The landlord claims the exculpatory clause in the lease agreement bars the tenant from recovery since the landlord was not on notice that a dangerous condition existed on the premises.

Holding: A California appeals court holds the landlord is not liable for the tenant’s injuries caused by code violations on the leased premise since the landlord had no knowledge of the dangerous condition and the exculpatory clause in the lease agreement shielded the landlord from these liabilities. [Garcia v. D/AQ Corporation (November 25, 2020) _CA6th_]

Editor’s note ­— Like the exculpatory clause, the hold harmless provision found in a commercial lease agreement shifts liability from the landlord to the tenant for injuries occurring on the premises caused by the tenant’s negligence. [See RPI Form 552 §15]

Read the case text here.