Sara L. Burnett v. Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, 2015CO19 (March 23, 2015)

“A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.” – William Blake. A plurality of the Court held that a tree located in the Cherry Creek State Park that existed before the State built camping facilities, but which is located next to, and whose branches hang over a campsite, is a “natural condition of unimproved property.” Relying extensively on a legislative report written about the CGIA, it held that if a tree is native pre-improvement, as in this case, the State has no duty to make it safe and prevent a branch from falling. Thus, the State is immune, without regard to the location of the tree. That approach, the Court held, balances the cost of maintenance and access to public land. Rosales v. Denver, which analyzed whether trees were public facilities, was overruled. The concurrence would focus on the text: the State is immune if a branch originating from “unimproved property” falls.

https://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2013/13SC306.pdf

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=9706&courtid=2

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinionlist.cfm?casedate=3/23/2015&courtid=2

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Filed under Government, Personal Injury, Property, Torts

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