Engeman Enterprises, LLC v. Tolin Mechanical Systems Co., 2013COA34 (March 14, 2013)

“Listen, this old system of yours could be on fire and I couldn’t even turn on the kitchen tap without filling out a 27b/6.” Harry Tuttle – Brazil. In this case, Defendant’s employee, while repairing a cooling system, caused a tank of ammonia to explode, causing property damage. Plaintiff sued in tort, not breach of contract. The court of appeals affirmed dismissal under the economic loss rule (ELR). No tort duties existed outside of the repair contract because Plaintiff could have sought consequential damages, equal to tort damages, even with a limitation-of-liability clause. Though ammonia is toxic, the standard of “reasonable care” in tort law is the same as “prudent and workmanlike” because Colorado does not recognize a distinct “highest” degree of care. The court also held that ELR applies to property damage and negligent supervision is not a distinct tort claim.

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