Henderson v. City and County of Denver 2012COA152 (September 13, 2012)

Pay attention to signs telling you to move your car for street sweeping. In this case, a street sweeper backed into a parked car and the owner sued Denver. Under the Governmental Immunity Act, if the street sweeper is a “motor vehicle,” Denver could be sued; if it is “mobile machinery” the city is immune. The two categories are mutually exclusive, and, the court held, the answer is determined by the design and use of the equipment. “Motor vehicles” are designed and used to transport people and property on highways. “Mobile machinery” is designed to maintain the highways, not to transport people or property over them. The court of appeals, noting that a dump truck with a snowplow blade is a motor vehicle, determined that a street sweeper is merely mobile machinery. Denver was, therefore, immune from suit for the damage caused by the street sweeper.




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