Injury Caused by a Public Improvement In California

Customer Co. v. City of Sacramento (1995) held that because the injury was not caused by a public improvement operating as deliberately planned and constructed, the plaintiff's claim was not an inverse condemnation claim but a claim subject to the Tort Claims Act and its attendant immunities. The court stated: "In the present case, of course, the property damage for which Customer seeks to recover bears no relation to a 'public improvement' or 'public work' of any kind. Instead, the damage was caused by actions of public employees having 'no relation to the function' of a public improvement whatsoever. As the foregoing cases demonstrate, property damage caused in such a manner never has been understood to give rise to an action for inverse condemnation in California, but rather has been treated as subject to the general tort principles applicable to governmental entities." (Customer, supra, 10 Cal. 4th at p. 383.)