“A reasonable person could foresee that a group of intoxicated individuals evicted from a hotel might be involved in a drunk driving accident that causes injuries.” Opinion. The Court affirmed the court of appeals’ ruling that hotels owe guests a duty of care not to evict them into a foreseeably dangerous environment, taking into account the guest’s physical state and the conditions into which she is evicted, including the time, surroundings and weather. Liability is limited by challenging the causal connection to the injury or by blaming other contributing factors. Whether an act caused an injury is fact-specific making summary judgment for the hotel improper. The dissent agreed the duty existed. But here, the plaintiff walked past two taxis. If the availability of alternative transportation is not sufficient to grant summary judgment for the hotel, then all cases go to a jury.
Tag Archives: Summary Judgment
Westin Operator, LLC v. Jillian Groh, through her guardians and conservators William and Janelle Groh, 2015CO25 (April 13, 2015)
Marilyn Marks v. Gessler, Colorado Secretary of State and Judd Choate, [Director of Elections], 2013COA115 (Aug. 1, 2013)
You are either in or out. ‘Cause if you are in, you are immune – workers’ compensation 101. “Statutory employers” (SEs) have immunity from suit for injuries to employees of a contractor (workers). Under CRS-8-41-402, a property owner is an SE if “any work [is] done on and to said property [by a worker].” Here, plaintiff was a worker on defendant CF&I’s property, was injured and sued CF&I. CF&I claimed it was an SE and thus immune. The trial court agreed with CF&I because plaintiff was working “on” CF&I’s property. It also relied on an argument not raised by CF&I, and without giving plaintiff notice. The court of appeals reversed. The plain statutory language uses “and” conjunctively; thus, work must be done both “on” and “to” the property to be an SE. Further, though a trial court may grant judgment for reasons not raised by the movant, it should give notice to the nonmoving party first.
Owning a nightclub is so full of drama there is a reality TV show about it. This case starts with a bar fight, but ends with a lawsuit against an insurance broker. A Bar’s Patron is injured during a fight and sues. Bar’s insurance policy had an assault and battery exclusion and denied coverage. Bar didn’t think its policy had the exclusion, so Bar sued Broker. Bar settles with Patron and executes a “Bashor” agreement, assigning any proceeds from Bar’s claims. But the claims against Broker are dismissed because of the assignment. The court of appeals held: 1) Broker must show the settlement was unreasonable, 2) Bar could still claim assigned damages, 3) Broker’s failure to obtain the insurance requested gave rise to a negligence claim, and 4) that claim was assignable because it was a commercial, not personal transaction. Summary Judgment for Broker reversed and the case was reinstated.
A cyclist is attacked on federal land during a sponsored race by two “predator control dogs” whose owners had a permit to graze sheep in the area. The trial court granted summary judgment for the owners, finding that the Premises Liability Act (PLA) abrogated the cyclist’s common law tort claims, and a claim under the “dog bite statute” was excluded by the “predator control dogs” exception. The court of appeals disagreed in part. First, because the owners were grazing sheep pursuant to a Forest Service permit, they were “landowners” under the PLA, which abrogated common law tort claims. But, the owners were not in “control of” the land, so the predator control dog exception did not apply. The statutes did not conflict because the remedies under each are different. Finally, the court agreed that a settlement offer from the owners was successfully withdrawn and thus not enforceable.
Certiorari was granted in this case on “Whether the court of appeals erred in holding that the working dog exemption to section 13-21-124, C.R.S. (2012), applies only when a bite occurs on a dog owner’s property or property under his or her control, and that “control” of property exists only if one has the right to exclude others from it.”
Free market competition has its limits; one is the bar on intentional interference with contractual relations. The line between tough competition and tortious behavior is not bright. The court of appeals clarified that line, sort of, by holding that an interference claim may lie even in the absence of an actual breach or impossibility of performance of a contract, depending upon the nature of the conduct of the alleged tortfeasor. This case involved the machinations of former employees to take the largest client of their prior employer by hiring away all the other employees. Relying on the Restatement of Torts, and interpreting a prior Supreme Court case as setting forth only some of the ways in which an interference claim could be proved, the court of appeals concluded that in this case, the plaintiff’s proof sufficiently showed defendant’s wrongful conduct caused interference.
Auto accidents hurt everyone. Wife became the named insured on an auto policy originally issued to her ex-husband. She got into an accident and obtained a sizable verdict against the insurer based on its failure to offer personal injury protection (PIP) options anew at the time she became insured. The core holding of the court of appeals was to uphold reformation of the policy to include the maximum PIP benefits that would have been offered had they been offered at the time the policy was issued to the ex-wife. But two other holdings may have wider applicability. One, a motion for a new trial does not preserve an issue for appeal presented as an issue of law. For that, a motion for “judgment notwithstanding verdict” is required. Second, a complaint may be amended to include punitive damages at the close of evidence if the defendant presented evidence contradicting the claim during trial.
National Farmers Union Property and Casualty Company v. Garfinkel, et. al. 2012COA46 (March 15, 2012)
With wildfires burning, this Homeowner’s Insurance coverage case is timely. The Insurer brought a coverage action disclaiming liability under a Homeowner’s policy for a wildfire started on property owned by a LLC operated by the homeowners. The trial granted summary judgment for the insureds, holding 2 exclusions did not apply, and coverage existed. The court of appeals disagreed in part. First, under the “Business Pursuits” exclusion, it held the test is 1) continuity or regularity of the activity, and 2) profit motive. Applying that test, the court reversed. Leasing a farm to homeowners may be a “business pursuit,” but is a question of fact requiring a trial. Second, the policy excluded uninsured property “owned” but not “controlled” by the insured. But it applies only where the insured is the title owner. Here title was in the LLC, so the exclusion did not apply to the homeowners.