St. Vrain Valley School District RE-1J and Cathy O'Donnell, Petitioners:
A.R.L. a minor, by and through her parents and next friends, Randy Loveland and Mary Nicole Loveland; Randy Loveland, individually; and Mary Nicole Loveland, individually, Respondents:
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Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals. Case No. 11CA1019.
In this tort case, the supreme court interprets the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act's " recreation area waiver," section 24-10-106(1)(e), C.R.S. (2013). It holds that a collection of public school playground equipment, considered in its entirety, qualifies as a " public facility" under the recreation area waiver. Accordingly, the court of appeals erred when it held that an individual piece of playground equipment, in and of itself, qualified as a " public facility." The supreme court thus affirm the court of appeals' holding, albeit for different reasons.
Applying the three-step analysis from Daniel v. City of Colorado Springs, 2014 CO 34, ¶ 23, the supreme court also holds that the public facility (i.e., the playground equipment) is " located in" the " recreation area" of the playground. It remands to the trial court for further fact finding with regard to the remaining requirements of the recreation area waiver.
Attorneys for Petitioners: Senter Goldfarb & Rice, L.L.C., Gillian M. Fahlsing, Thomas S. Rice, Denver, Colorado.
Attorneys for Respondents: Purvis Gray, LLP, Michael J. Thomson, Boulder, Colorado.
CHIEF JUSTICE RICE delivered the Opinion of the Court. JUSTICE COATS dissents, and JUSTICE EID joins in the dissent.
RICE, CHIEF JUSTICE.
[¶1] We granted certiorari to consider an issue of first impression: whether an injury that occurs on a " zip line" apparatus located on a public school playground fulfills the requirements of the " recreation area waiver," section 24-10-106(1)(e), C.R.S. (2013), of the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (" CGIA" ). The recreation area waiver deprives public entities of immunity from tort liability if an injury results from a " dangerous condition of any . . . public facility located in any park or recreation area." § 24-10-106(1)(e). We hold that a collection of playground equipment considered as a whole qualifies as a " public facility" under the recreation area waiver because such playground equipment is (1) relatively permanent or otherwise affixed to the land, (2) a man-made structure, (3) accessible to the public, and (4) maintained by a public entity to serve a beneficial, common public purpose. The court of appeals thus erred when it held that the zip line individually, rather than the playground collectively, constituted a " public facility."
[¶2] We also hold that the public facility here, i.e., the collection of playground equipment, was " located in" the " recreation area" of the school playground. Applying the three-step analysis from
Daniel v. City of Colorado Springs,2014 CO 34, ¶ 23, we determine that the public land underlying the playground equipment is the " putative recreation area," that the " primary purpose" of that area is recreation, and that the facility ...