Court of Appeal Upholds Judgment in Favor of Public Entity Which Was Entitled to Immunity for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Resulting From Police Vehicle High-Speed Chase

February 11, 2007, by Meyers Nave

In Alcala v. City of Corcoran, the Court of Appeal was faced with a wrongful death action involving a bystander hit by a police vehicle during a high-speed chase. Jose Jesus Alcala died from complications resulting from injuries he suffered after being hit by a vehicle driven by police officers engaged in a high-speed pursuit of a murder suspect.

The Court agreed with the trial court's denial of plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings, and affirmed the judgment in favor of defendants City of Corcoran and Corcoran Police Department. The Court so ruled because it found that defendants were one public entity and that they were entitled to immunity under Vehicle Code section 17004.7, which grants immunity to public entities/agencies that have adopted a written policy governing vehicular pursuits that clearly and specifically sets forth standards to guide officers in the field.

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