Commercial lease disclaimer of liability for negligence held to be enforceable

A California appeals court has found a disclaimer of liability for negligence in a commercial lease to be enforceable and not to violate public policy even though a state statute made them invalid as to cases involving fraud, willful injuries, gross negligence, or violations of law. Garcia v. D/AQ Corp., 271 Cal. Rptr. 3d 861 (Ct. App. 2020). This case did not fit in those categories since the tenant hit his head on a low beam at the top of a flight of stairs and the landlord had not engaged in an intentional tort or willfully caused the injury. Since none of the statutory categories applied, and this involved a commercial lease, the court held that the parties had the freedom to agree to the disclaimer of tort liabilty and that this did not violate public policy under either the statute or the common law.

See also: Leaseholds