To prevail on a premises liability cause of action, a plaintiff must prove (1) the defendant owned or controlled the property in question, (2) the defendant was negligent in its use or maintenance of the property, (3) the plaintiff was harmed, and (4) the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injury. Civ. Code §1714, subd. (a); Isaacs v. Huntington Memorial Hospital (1985) 38 Cal.3d 112, 134; Donnell v. California Western School of Law (1988) 200 Cal.App.3d 715, 720. Before a defendant can be found liable for negligence in the use or maintenance of its property, however, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty, and that the breach was the proximate cause of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. Ann M. v. Pacific Plaza Shopping Center (1993) 6 Cal.4th 666, 673. Whether the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff is a legal question for the court to decide after weighing a number of factors, including the foreseeability of harm to the plaintiff and the closeness of the connection between the defendant’s conduct and the injury suffered. Ibid; see also, Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108, 113.
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