Pianka v. State

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtGIBSON
Citation293 P.2d 458,46 Cal.2d 208
PartiesEric Roger PIANKA, by and through his guardian ad litem Walter Pianka, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. STATE of California and National Guard of the State of California, Defendants and Respondents. S. F. 19361.
Decision Date10 February 1956

Page 458

293 P.2d 458
46 Cal.2d 208
Eric Roger PIANKA, by and through his guardian ad litem Walter Pianka, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
STATE of California and National Guard of the State of California, Defendants and Respondents.
S. F. 19361.
Supreme Court of California, In Bank.
Feb. 10, 1956.

Page 460

[46 Cal.2d 209] Hoberg & Finger and Ingemar E. Hoberg, San Francisco, for appellant.

Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, E. D. Bronson, Jr., San Francisco, Edmund G. Brown, Atty. Gen., John E. Fourt and Richard S. F. Roddis, Deputy Attys. Gen., for respondents.

GIBSON, Chief Justice.

Plaintiff, a minor, is seeking damages for personal injuries resulting from the explosion of a shell which was left by the National Guard on a public firing range of the city of Yreka at the conclusion of a public demonstration. Defendants, without filing an answer, raised the defense of sovereign immunity by means of a motion to dismiss supported by an affidavit. The court granted the [46 Cal.2d 210] motion, and plaintiff has appealed from the judgment of dismissal.

The complaint alleges that the firing demonstration was held for the entertainment of the public generally, that it was widely advertised in the local newspapers and that all members of the public were invited to attend. It is further alleged that defendant negligently left an unexploded shell on the public firing range where it would be attractive to young children and that, as a proximate cause of such negligence, plaintiff was injured. A claim, which was duly served and filed pursuant to section 16041 of the Government Code, 1 was denied.

The affidavit in support of the motion to dismiss stated that the firing demonstration had been conducted solely for the purpose of gaining recruits for the National Guard and that no admission charge was made.

The state and its agencies are immune from liability for tort in the discharge of governmental duties and activities, but liability exists for negligence in connection with proprietary activities such as the operation of an industrial or business enterprise. Gov.Code, § 16041; Guidi v. State of California, 41 Cal.2d 623, 625 et seq., 262 P.2d 3; People v. Superior Court, 29 Cal.2d 754, 757 et seq., 178 P.2d 1, 40 A.L.R.2d 919, and cases cited. Governmental immunity turns on the nature of the particular activity that led to the injury, not on the identity of the governmental subdivision or agency carrying on the enterprise, and it has been held that the state may be acting in a proprietary capacity when it enters into activities designed to amuse and entertain the public. Guidi v. State of California, 41 Cal.2d 623, 627, 262 P.2d 3; Cf. Chafor v. City of Long Beach, 174 Cal. 478, 163 P. 670, L.R.A.1917E, 685; Rhodes v. City of Palo Alto, 100 Cal.App.2d 336, 223 P.2d 639; Sanders v. City of Long Beach, 54 Cal.App.2d 651, 129 P.2d 511.

The complaint states a cause of...

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51 practice notes
  • Akins v. Sonoma County
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 21, 1966
    ...amusement and entertainment of the public. (Guidi v. State of California, 41 Cal.2d 623, 627, 262 P.2d 3; Pianka v. State of California, 46 Cal.2d 208, 210, 293 P.2d 458; Chafor v. City of Long Beach, 174 Cal. 478, 489-490, 163 P. 670; Sanders v. City of Long Beach, supra, 54 Cal.App.2d, pp......
  • Thornton v. Victor Meat Co., No. 120
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 27, 1968
    ...has been upheld. (Snider v. Snider (1962) 200 Cal.App.2d 741, 746--747, 19 Cal.Rptr. 709; and see Pianka v. State of California (1956) 46 Cal.2d 208, 211--212, 293 P.2d 458; and Callahan v. Chatsworth Park, Inc. (1962) 204 Cal.App.2d 597, 599, 22 Cal.Rptr. 3 The agreement is attached to the......
  • Levy v. Superior Court, No. S035538
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 22, 1995
    ...court's decisions (Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, 167-169, 95 Cal.Rptr. 623, 486 P.2d 151; Pianka v. State of California (1956) 46 Cal.2d 208, 211, 293 P.2d 458) had to be treated as motions for summary judgment that could be granted only if all of the papers submitted showed there wa......
  • Vesely v. Sager
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 24, 1971
    ...for injuries suffered as a result of that violation. Additionally, we reaffirm our decision in Pianka v. State of California (1956) 46 Cal.2d 208, 293 P.2d 458, and hold that a nonstatutory speaking motion to strike or dismiss a complaint should be treated as a motion for summary judgment. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
51 cases
  • Akins v. Sonoma County
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 21, 1966
    ...amusement and entertainment of the public. (Guidi v. State of California, 41 Cal.2d 623, 627, 262 P.2d 3; Pianka v. State of California, 46 Cal.2d 208, 210, 293 P.2d 458; Chafor v. City of Long Beach, 174 Cal. 478, 489-490, 163 P. 670; Sanders v. City of Long Beach, supra, 54 Cal.App.2d, pp......
  • Thornton v. Victor Meat Co., No. 120
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 27, 1968
    ...has been upheld. (Snider v. Snider (1962) 200 Cal.App.2d 741, 746--747, 19 Cal.Rptr. 709; and see Pianka v. State of California (1956) 46 Cal.2d 208, 211--212, 293 P.2d 458; and Callahan v. Chatsworth Park, Inc. (1962) 204 Cal.App.2d 597, 599, 22 Cal.Rptr. 3 The agreement is attached to the......
  • Levy v. Superior Court, No. S035538
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 22, 1995
    ...court's decisions (Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, 167-169, 95 Cal.Rptr. 623, 486 P.2d 151; Pianka v. State of California (1956) 46 Cal.2d 208, 211, 293 P.2d 458) had to be treated as motions for summary judgment that could be granted only if all of the papers submitted showed there wa......
  • Vesely v. Sager
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 24, 1971
    ...for injuries suffered as a result of that violation. Additionally, we reaffirm our decision in Pianka v. State of California (1956) 46 Cal.2d 208, 293 P.2d 458, and hold that a nonstatutory speaking motion to strike or dismiss a complaint should be treated as a motion for summary judgment. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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