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California Torts
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

5-60 California Torts 60.syn


General Principles of Liability and Immunity of Public Entities and Employees


Neil M. Levy; Michael M. Golden; Leonard Sacks

Chapter Summary


This chapter discusses general tort liability and immunities of public entities and employees, including state and local governmental entities such as counties, cities, school districts, special districts, state universities, and other political subdivisions. Part A discusses the history, construction, coverage, and application of the major provisions of the California Government Claims Act and their relationship to other laws that impose liability and provide immunities. The Tort Claims Act declares that except as otherwise provided by statute, a public entity is not liable for an injury, whether the injury arises out of an act or omission of the public entity, a public employee, or any other person.

Part B discusses the general rules governing a public entity's liability, including vicarious liability and liability for the failure of a public entity to discharge a mandatory duty imposed by an enactment. Except as otherwise provided by statute, the liability of a public entity established by the Tort Claims Act is subject to any immunity of the public entity provided by statute, including the Act, and is subject to any defenses that would be available to the public entity if it were a private person.

Part C discusses general rules governing the liability and immunities of public employees and independent contractors. It addresses an employee's liability as a private person, discretionary acts of public employees, public employee misrepresentations, indemnification and defense of employees, and injuries by independent contractors. Part D discusses immunities and defenses, including those relating to enactments, law enforcement, tax laws, malicious prosecution, health and safety inspections of private property, licenses and permits, entry on private property, publication of narcotic law violation reports, money stolen from official custody, and punitive damages.

California Torts (Matthew Bender) provides in-depth coverage of virtually all recognized theories of tort liability under California law, including related defenses and immunities. In addition to its substantial focus on California personal injury law, the treatise also covers professional liability and a variety of business tort causes of action, such as unfair competition, intentional or negligent interference with business or contractual relationships, unjust dismissal, and "bad faith" actions. It contains detailed information to help attorneys prepare during every stage of case development, from pretrial to verdict to post trial.


Public entity liability in California,public entity immunity in California,public employee liability in California,public employee immunity in California,California Tort Claims Act,independent contractor liability,independent contractor immunity,public entity vicarious liability


Public entity and employee liabilities and immunities relating to dangerous conditions of public property, police and correctional activities, fire protection, medical, hospital, and public health activities, and liabilities and immunities under other statutes are discussed in Chapter 61.

Filing requirements for claims and actions against public entities and employees are discussed in Chapter 62.

General discussion of principles of tort liability, including negligence and strict liability, is included in Chapters 1-10.

Damages are discussed in Chapters 50-58.

For discussion of public entity liability arising out of the use of a motor vehicle, see Chapter 20, Part B.

For additional discussion of indemnity, see Chapter 74.


For forms for use in actions against public entities and employees, see California Forms of Pleading and Practice (Matthew Bender), Chapter 469, Public Entities and Officers.

For sample memoranda and related sample pleadings which may be submitted in actions and proceedings involving public entities, see California Points and Authorities (Matthew Bender), Chapter 196, Public Entities.

For discussion on the vicarious liability of public entities, see Punitive Damages, Chapter 4, section 4.4 (Matthew Bender).
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