What is gross negligence?

Gross negligence is pleaded by alleging the traditional elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages. However, to set forth a claim for gross negligence the plaintiff must allege extreme conduct on the part of the defendant. Rosencrans v. Dover Images, Ltd. (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 1072, 1082.

Gross negligence long has been defined in California and other jurisdictions as either: a ‘want of even scant care’ or ‘an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct.’ City of Santa Barbara v. Super. Ct., 41 Cal.4th 747, 754 (2007). Gross negligence is not the same as ordinary negligence, which “consists of a failure to exercise the degree of care in a given situation that a reasonable person under similar circumstances would employ to protect others from harm.” Id. at 753-754.

To avoid a finding of gross negligence, it is not required that a public entity must pursue all possible options. It is required only that they exercise some care, that they pursue a course of conduct which is not an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct. Decker v. City of Imperial Beach, 209 Cal.App.3d 349, 361 (1989). However, gross negligence immunity does not apply where an act of gross negligence by a public entity is the proximate cause of the injury. Gov’t Code § 831(c)(1)(E).

California does not recognize a distinct common law cause of action for gross negligence apart from negligence. Jimenez v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc., 237 Cal.App.4th 546, 552 (2015).

Useful Rulings on Gross Negligence

Recent Rulings on Gross Negligence

CHRISTIAN CARRANZA VS DAVID PHILLIP MEYI, ET AL.

The complaint alleges negligence, gross negligence, negligent hiring, supervision and retention, and intentional infliction of emotional distress for an automobile collision that occurred on February 8, 2017. On March 6, 2020, Defendant Lyft, Inc., filed a motion to strike pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 435, subdivision (b). A trial setting conference is scheduled for March 24, 2021. PARTY’S REQUEST Defendant Lyft, Inc.

  • Hearing

    Jul 14, 2020

JEAN NDJONGO VS HENRY M. WILLIS, ET AL.

Proof of negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness is insufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages. (Dawes v. Sup.Ct. (Mardian)¿(1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 82, 88–89.) Punitive damages may be recovered in a personal injury action if the plaintiff pleads and proves that the defendant acted with the state of mind described as “conscious disregard” of the potential dangers to others. (Pfeifer v. John Crane, Inc.¿(2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1270, 1299.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 14, 2020

DANIEL KANG VS VOLVO CARS OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC, ET AL.

“Mere negligence, even gross negligence, is not sufficient to justify such an award” for punitive damages. (Kendall Yacht Corp. v. United California Bank (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 949, 958.) Defendant moves to strike allegations related to punitive damages arguing that the FAC fails to state facts sufficient to support a claim for punitive damages.

  • Hearing

    Jul 14, 2020

JESSICA STEVENS, AN INDIVIDUAL, ET AL. VS NBA AUTOMOTIVE, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL.

“Mere negligence, even gross negligence, is not sufficient to justify such an award” for punitive damages. (Kendall Yacht Corp. v. United California Bank (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 949, 958.) Defendant moves to strike the prayer for punitive damages in the complaint, arguing that the complaint fails to state facts sufficient to state facts sufficient to support punitive damages.

  • Hearing

    Jul 14, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

DAVID FORD, ET AL AND SCOTT HOPPE, ET AL

Superior Court (2007) 41 Cal,40| 747, the Supreme Court distinguished between “ordinary negligence,” “gross negligence,” and “’wanton’ or ‘reckless’ misconduct (or ‘willful and wanton negligence’) [which] describes conduct by a person who may have no intent to cause harm, but who intentionally performs an act so unreasonable and dangerous that he or she knows or should know it is highly probable that harm will result.” (Id. at 753-754 and fn. 4.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 14, 2020

KIM BUBBS, ET AL. VS PLH CONSTRUCTION, A BUSINESS ENTITY FORM UNKNOWN, ET AL.

.)¿ “Mere negligence, even gross negligence, is not sufficient to justify such an award” for punitive damages.¿ (Kendall Yacht Corp. v. United California Bank, 50¿Cal. App. 3d 949, 958 (1975).)¿ The allegations supporting a request for punitive damages must be alleged with specificity; conclusory allegations without sufficient facts are not enough.¿ (Smith v. Superior Court, 10 Cal.

  • Hearing

    Jul 14, 2020

ANDRANIK KEYRIBARYAN VS HEALTH CARE LA, IPA, ET AL.

“Mere negligence, even gross negligence, is not sufficient to justify such an award” for punitive damages. (Kendall Yacht Corp. v. United California Bank (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 949, 958.) “When nondeliberate injury is charged, allegations that the defendant's conduct was wrongful, willful, wanton, reckless or unlawful do not support a claim for exemplary damages; such allegations do not charge malice. [Citations.]” (G. D. Searle & Co. v. Superior Court (1975) 49 Cal.App.3d 22, 29.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Insurance

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

BRUCE A ARONSON VS KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC

“Mere negligence, even gross negligence, is not sufficient to justify such an award” for punitive damages. Kendall Yacht Corp. v. United California Bank (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 949, 958.) “When the defendant is a corporation, “[a]n award of punitive damages against a corporation … must rest on the malice of the corporation's employees. [¶] But the law does not impute every employee's malice to the corporation.” (Cruz v. HomeBase (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 160, 167.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

PAULINA VEGA VS JPMORGAN CHASE BANK NA

Chase would also have argued that an employer’s failure to pay wages is not willful unless it reached the standard of “gross negligence or recklessness.” See Amaral v. Cintas, 163 Cal. App. 4th 1157, 1201 (2008). Given these defenses and the derivative nature of waiting-time penalties (i.e., an underlying violation must be proven before such penalties can be awarded), Plaintiff accordingly discounted this amount by half, or $7,500,000.00. (Motion, fns. 4-8.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

CORONADO SHORES CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION NO 1 VS CORONADO SHORES LANDSCAPING & RECREATIONAL COMMITTEE

For purposes of this provision, "cause" is defined by way of example as including, but not limited to, gross negligence or willful misconduct by a Committee Member in the performance of his or her duties as a Member of the Committee, which shall include, but not be limited to, theft/fraud of Committee funds, harassment of other Committee Members, agents, principals, employees, independent contractors, attorneys, and any willful (and not legally protected) act that is likely to or which does in fact cause substantial

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

ELLIS MCGEHEE VS CITY OF MANHATTAN BEACH, ET AL.

BACKGROUND On November 13, 2018, plaintiff Ellis McGehee filed a complaint against defendants City of Manhattan Beach and David James Gibbons for (1) statutory liability, (2) gross negligence/reckless misconduct, and (3) negligence/negligent supervision/negligent retention. On July 23, 2019, plaintiff filed a FAC for (1) statutory liability and (2) negligence/negligent supervision/negligent retention based on a motor vehicle accident that occurred on March 3, 2018.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

BRUCE A ARONSON VS KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC

“Mere negligence, even gross negligence, is not sufficient to justify such an award” for punitive damages. Kendall Yacht Corp. v. United California Bank (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 949, 958.) “When the defendant is a corporation, “[a]n award of punitive damages against a corporation … must rest on the malice of the corporation's employees. [¶] But the law does not impute every employee's malice to the corporation.” (Cruz v. HomeBase (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 160, 167.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

HUYNH, ET AL. V. MISSION DE LA CASA NURSING AND REHABILITATION CTR., ET AL.

As we have noted, the Legislature apparently concluded that the high standard imposed by section 15657—clear and convincing evidence of (i) liability and (ii) recklessness, malice, oppression or fraud—adequately protects health care providers from liability under the statute for acts of simple or even gross negligence. (Delaney, supra, at p. 32….) We are not authorized to gainsay that legislative judgment.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

MICHELLE VEGA VS KIPP LA SCHOOLS

Proof of negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness is insufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages. (Dawes v. Sup.Ct. (Mardian) (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 82, 88–89.) Punitive damages may be recovered in an action for negligence or other nonintentional torts if the plaintiff pleads and proves that the defendant acted with the state of mind described as “conscious disregard” of the potential dangers to others. (Pfeifer v. John Crane, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1270, 1299.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

CLEMONS VS HTRCE LP

Plaintiff also asserts that her insurance claim for damages was denied because of a mold exclusion, thus there is an argument that the business loss was a result of the hazardous substances caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct. In reply, defendant argues that the complaint does not set forth "sufficient allegations" to support gross negligence or willful misconduct.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Type

    Business

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

JESUS IGNACIO VALENZUELA, ET AL. VS LAWNDALE HEALTHCARE & WELLNESS CENTRE LLC, ET AL.

Code, § 3340 [“For wrongful injuries to animals being subjects of property, committed willfully or by gross negligence, in disregard of humanity, exemplary damages may be given.”].) This indicates that Civil Code section 3345 was not meant to apply to Civil Code section 3294 for punitive damages; rather, the two sections are meant to apply separately. Therefore, the motion to strike treble damages is granted without leave to amend.

  • Hearing

    Jul 08, 2020

DELIA PERDUE ET AL VS MOBILE MODULAR DEVELOPMENT INC ET AL

Co. (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 1269, 1288, fn. 14 [“‘[P]unitive damages should not be allowable upon evidence that is merely consistent with the hypothesis of malice, fraud, gross negligence or oppressiveness.’”].) “‘Something more than the mere commission of a tort is always required for punitive damages.

  • Hearing

    Jul 07, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

  • Judge Elaine Lu
  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

JOHN JUNIOR YOUNG V. RUPINDER KUR

Even gross negligence is not itself sufficient to support punitive damages. (Bell v. Sharp Cabrillo Hosp. (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 1034, 1044.) Premises Liability. Plaintiff’s complaint includes a count against Defendant for maintaining a dangerous condition on public property. (Complaint at Prem.L-4.) FAMILY CLEANERS is not a public entity and does not own public property. FAMILY CLEANERS’s motion to strike is granted without leave to amend.

  • Hearing

    Jul 07, 2020

(NO CASE NAME AVAILABLE)

Proof of negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness is insufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages. (Dawes v. Sup.Ct. (Mardian) (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 82, 88–89.) Punitive damages may be recovered in a personal injury action if the plaintiff pleads and proves that the defendant acted with the state of mind described as “conscious disregard” of the potential dangers to others. (Pfeifer v. John Crane, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1270, 1299.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 07, 2020

ROBIN REID VS BEVERLY HILLS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL.

Proof of negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness is insufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages. (Dawes v. Sup.Ct. (Mardian) (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 82, 88–89.) Punitive damages may be recovered in a personal injury action if the plaintiff pleads and proves that the defendant acted with the state of mind described as “conscious disregard” of the potential dangers to others. (Pfeifer v. John Crane, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1270, 1299.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 07, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

MARY LACAYO, ET AL. VS GENERAL MOTORS, INC

Proof of negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness is insufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages. (Dawes v. Sup.Ct. (Mardian) (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 82, 88–89.) Punitive damages may be recovered in an action for negligence or other nonintentional torts if the plaintiff pleads and proves that the defendant acted with the state of mind described as “conscious disregard” of the potential dangers to others. (Pfeifer v. John Crane, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1270, 1299.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 06, 2020

MARQUS ROBINSON VS MARTYN BRADLEY , ET AL.

Gross Negligence Defendants seek to strike references to “gross negligence” in the FAC. However, “gross negligence” is a cause of action, and a motion to strike is the inappropriate vehicle to challenge an entire cause of action. Furthermore, Defendants’ Motion repeats the same arguments regarding whether Plaintiff adequately pleaded notice, which is already discussed above in the Court’s ruling on Defendants’ Demurrer.

  • Hearing

    Jul 06, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

MALLEY V. MOZER

Moreover, as Defendants maintain in their motion, generally mere or even gross negligence will not support an award of punitive damages. (Simmons v. Southern Pac. Transportation Co. (1976) 62 Cal.App.3d 341, 368.) Premises liability will only support such damages where it rises to the level of tortious conduct set forth in Civil Code section 3294. (Wysinger v. Automobile Club of Southern California (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 413.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 02, 2020

ALEXIS ATHERTON VS FLINKMAN PARTNERS, LLP

Second Cause of Action: Gross NegligenceGross negligence is pleaded by alleging the traditional elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation and damages. However, to set forth a claim for gross negligence the plaintiff must also allege conduct by the defendant involving either want of even scant care or an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct. Gross negligence connotes such a lack of care as may be presumed to indicate a passive and indifferent attitude toward results.”

  • Hearing

    Jul 02, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

REYNALDA VALDEZ OBESO, ET AL. VS NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL.

Proof of negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness is insufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages. (Dawes v. Sup.Ct. (Mardian) (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 82, 88–89.) Punitive damages may be recovered in an action for negligence or other nonintentional torts if the plaintiff pleads and proves that the defendant acted with the state of mind described as “conscious disregard” of the potential dangers to others. (Pfeifer v. John Crane, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1270, 1299.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 02, 2020

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

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