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Robinson v. Ignacio School District

Court of Appeals of Colorado, First Division

April 10, 2014

Christie Robinson, individually and as parent and next friend of C.R., a minor child, Plaintiff-Appellee and Cross-Appellant,
v.
Ignacio School District, 11JT, Defendant-Appellant and Cross-Appellee

La Plata County District Court No. 13CV20. Honorable Suzanne F. Carlson, Judge.

JUDGMENT REVERSED IN PART AND CASE REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.

Phillip W. Snyder, P.C., Phillip W. Snyder, Durango, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee and Cross-Appellant.

Semple, Farrington & Everall, P.C., M. Brent Case, Mary B. Gray, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant and Cross-Appellee.

Opinion by JUDGE TAUBMAN. Furman and Dunn, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 298

TAUBMAN, JUDGE.

[¶1] Plaintiff, Christie Robinson, individually and as parent and next of friend of her son, C.R., sued defendant, Ignacio School District, 11JT, for injuries C.R. sustained on a school bus. The district moved to dismiss the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA), § § 24-10-101 to -120, C.R.S. 2013. The court partially denied the motion. Thus, the district appeals the portion of the court's judgment that denied its motion to dismiss. Robinson cross-appeals the portion of the judgment that dismissed her individual claim for lack of notice pursuant to the CGIA. We reverse that part of the court's judgment denying the district's immunity under the CGIA, and therefore, do not address the portion of its judgment denying Robinson's individual claim.

I. Background

[¶2] The Ignacio School District transports students of all ages, from elementary to high school, on the same bus. Because of prior bullying by older students, the district implemented a seating assignment directive that required younger students to sit at the front of the bus and the older ones at the back of the bus.

[¶3] However, in February 2011, two older students, including the bus driver's son, left their assigned seats in the back of the bus and moved towards the front near C.R., Robinson's seven-year-old son. When the bus driver saw her son and his friend move towards the front, she braked and ordered her son to sit down. However, they disobeyed her and sat by C.R. They then grabbed his neck and began to jerk his head back and forth, causing a severe cervical strain and a concussion.

[¶4] As a result, Robinson, individually and as parent and next friend of her son, filed suit against the district for negligence and as respondeat superior for the bus driver's alleged wanton and willful conduct in failing to control the students. In response, the district moved to dismiss Robinson's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

[¶5] The trial court partially granted the district's motion. It dismissed Robinson's individual claim and respondeat superior claim for the bus driver's alleged willful and wanton negligence. However, it allowed Robinson's negligence claim to stand because the court found that the district had waived its immunity under the CGIA since Robinson's injuries resulted from the ...


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