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You can sue California government entities like cities and counties, but you need to understand the California Government Claims Act. You can find it here: Govt Code § 810 et seq.

It’s complicated. What you need to understand is that California government entities have a lot of protection under the law. These entities may be immune from liability. Immunity means they cannot be held responsible for what they did or didn’t do. So even if a governmental entity somehow injuries you or your property, you may not be able to recover if the entity is immunity.

Let’s discuss some of the immunities.

California Governmental Immunity Under Govt Code § 815

This is a broad immunity which says a California governmental entity is immune unless another statute (law) says it’s not immune. See Govt Code § 815. This refers to limited sovereign immunity, which means a government entity is immune from liability unless another law says it’s not immune. For example, Govt Code § 835 explains when a government entity can be liable for a dangerous condition on public property.

California Governmental Immunity Under Govt Code § 815.2

This statute says a governmental entity is not liable for an injury caused by its employee, if the employee is not liable. This gets into respondeat superior, or agency liability. If a government employee is immune, then the government employer is immune.

California Governamental Immunity Under Govt Code § 818.2

A governmental entity is not liable for failing to adopt or enforce any law. That sounds crazy, but it’s the law. You can find it here. You cannot sue a California governmental entity for not enforcing the law. That also applies to licensing (Govt Code § 818.4) and negligent inspection of private property (Govt Code § 818.6).

California Governmental Immunity Under Govt Code § 831.2

This immunity comes into play if you have a Govt Code § 835 claim. Govt Code § 831.2 says neither a government employer nor a government employee is liable for an injury caused by a natural condition of any unimproved public property.


There are many more immunities. Consider Govt Code § 830.6 (design immunity), § 830.8 (failure to provide traffic signs), § 831 (dangerous conditions on streets due to weather), § 831.7 (hazardous recreational activities).

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Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He has practiced law throughout California, Connecticut, and Louisiana.

Evan worked for and defended insurance companies during the first 7 years of his practice. Since 2015, he has represented people with personal injury and property damage claims and insurance disputes.

Evan’s practice is devoted to serious personal injury claims and catastrophic property damage claims. Areas of focus include security claims against bars and other businesses, government tort claims, fire and flood claims, and inverse condemnation. On behalf of clients, Evan has fought insurance firms, international companies, cities, bars, and casinos.

Evan regularly shares his expertise with other attorneys by teaching courses on insurance and inverse condemnation. He has taught several continuing legal education courses to Attorney Credits, a nationwide CLE company, and ProLawCLE, another nationwide CLE company. He also contributes to various podcasts and publications.


  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, San Diego Bar Association
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • Member, La Jolla Bar Association
  • Member, La Jolla Village Merchants Association
  • Member, San Diego Chamber of Commerce