On February 27, 2004, Cabral’s pickup truck collided with a big rig driven by Hen Horn (an employee of Ralphs), which was stopped on the side of the freeway in an emergency parking area. Cabral died in the collision and his widow sued Ralphs for wrongful death. Ralphs cross-complained for property damage to the big rig. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff on her complaint and for Ralphs on its cross-complaint. Ralphs appealed, contending that, as a matter of law, Horn owed no duty to Cabral to avoid stopping in the emergency parking area.
Reversed. There is no duty on the part of Ralphs (and its driver, Hen Horn) to ensure that Cabral’s vehicle, upon leaving the roadway, would have a “safe landing.” As a matter of law, a reasonable person would not conclude that Horn’s act of stopping on the side of the freeway, sixteen (16) feet away from the edge of lane four, in the dirt area, would subject motorists using the freeway to an unreasonable risk of harm.