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Did the immunity in Education Code section 44808 bar the wrongful death action?

Last month, the Third District Court of Appeal addressed this issue. 

New CA Tort Decision  

Brinsmead v. Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 6058526: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order sustaining defendants’ demurrer, without leave to amend, to plaintiffs’ action for the wrongful death of their daughter. This case arose from a car crash causing the death of a 16-year-old girl G. when she was trying to get to high school. After waiting 40 minutes for a school bus that never came, G. was picked up from the bus stop by a friend whom she had texted. During their ride to school, the friend’s car was hit head on by another driver, and G. suffered fatal injuries. The trial court sustained defendants’ demurrer, concluding the immunity under Education Code section 44808 applied. The Court of Appeal disagreed, concluding that plaintiffs had alleged sufficient facts to fall outside the section 44808 immunity. The plain language of section 44808 establishes that a school district undertakes to provide transportation both when the school bus arrives and transports students and also when the district accepts the responsibility of providing that transportation. The parents’ allegations were sufficient to allege an undertaking under section 44808 for purposes of demurrer. Moreover, the parents adequately alleged G. should have been under district supervision by the time she decided to find other transportation and at the time she was fatally injured. (C.A. 3rd, September 18, 2023.)


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I help attorneys and their clients settle cases as a mediator, fairly decide cases as an arbitrator, and fairly decide issues as a referee at ADR Services, Inc. in the areas of business, employment, insurance (bad faith, coverage, UIM) probate (trusts and estates), real property, and torts (elder abuse, medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability and wrongful death). As a Zoom expert, I conduct Zoom and in-person hearings throughout California. To schedule a matter, please contact my case managers at ADR Services, Inc., Haward Cho, (213) 683-1600, 
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Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.
Mediator, Arbitrator & Referee at ADR Services
Master Lawyer Mentoring™: Trial training & Associate training 
Publisher: California Case Summaries™
Podcaster: Trial Alchemy™
ABOTA Member Since 1995
Past President San Diego County Bar Assn., SD ABOTA Chapter
Phone: (619) 990-4312 | Email: [email protected] 

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