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Schlumbrecht-Muniz v. Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 21, 2015

LINDA SCHLUMBRECHT-MUNIZ, M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
STEAMBOAT SKI AND RESORT CORPORATION, Defendant

Page 1311

          For Linda Schlumbrecht-Muniz, M.D., Plaintiff: Mark P. Martens, Martens & Associates, P.C., Denver, CO.

         For Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, a Delaware Corporation doing business as Steamboat, Defendant: Kimberly A. Viergever, Peter W. Rietz, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Brian Alan Birenbach, Rietz Law Firm, LLC, Dillon, CO.

Page 1312

         OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         Marcia S. Krieger, Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (#41), the Plaintiff's Response (#45), and the Defendant's Reply (#47).

         I. Material Facts

         The Court has reviewed the record and submissions of the parties and finds the following facts to be undisputed, or if disputed, resolves them most favorably to the non-movant.

         The Plaintiff Linda Schlumbrecht-Muniz, M.D., was a member of the Sarasota, Florida Ski Team. She travelled to Steamboat Springs Ski Resort with the ski team to participate in NASTAR ski races.[1] Prior to participating in the ski races, Dr. Muniz registered with NASTAR by filling out and signing a registration form that contained an exculpatory clause and paid a registration fee. She also purchased a lift ticket from the Defendant, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation.

         On January 24, 2012, Dr. Muniz was present to participate in the ski races and to ski recreationally. The race course was set up on the Bashor Trail, which Dr. Muniz accessed via the Bashor Lift. After finishing her second race and exiting the race course, she skied down the Bashor Trail and headed toward the lift. She had intended to ski past the lift to a picnic area to meet up with other racers, but on her way Dr. Muniz collided with a snowmobile that was parked near the lift. Dr. Muniz sustained serious injuries as a result of the collision.

         Dr. Muniz asserts two claims against the Defendant, Steamboat: (1) common-law negligence by the Defendant's employee in parking the snowmobile in a dangerous, high-traffic area,[2] and (2) negligence per se

Page 1313

under the Colorado Ski Safety Act (SSA), Colo. Rev. Stat. § 33-44-107(7),[3] by failing to mark and pad the snowmobile.

         The Defendant moves for summary judgment on both claims. It argues that (1) both claims are barred by the exculpatory clause contained in the NASTAR participation agreement; (2) the common-law negligence claim is barred as a matter of law by Colo. Rev. Stat. § 33-44-112; and (3) the claim of negligence per se for violation of the SSA fails because the statute is inapplicable and, if it is applicable, Dr. Muniz cannot present sufficient evidence for a prima facie claim.

         II. Standard of Review

         Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure facilitates the entry of a judgment only if no trial is necessary. See White v. York Intern. Corp., 45 F.3d 357, 360 (10th Cir. 1995). Summary adjudication is authorized when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and a party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Substantive law governs which facts are material and what issues must be determined. It also specifies the elements that must be proved for a given claim or defense, sets the standard of proof, and identifies the party with the burden of proof. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. v. Producer's Gas Co., 870 F.2d 563, 565 (10th Cir. 1989). A factual dispute is " genuine" and summary judgment is precluded if the evidence presented in support of and in opposition to the motion is so contradictory that, if presented at trial, a judgment could enter for either party. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. When considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court views all evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, thereby favoring the right to a trial. See Garrett v. Hewlett Packard Co., 305 F.3d 1210, 1213 (10th Cir. 2002).

         If the movant has the burden of proof on a claim or defense, the movant must establish every element of its claim or defense by sufficient, competent evidence. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). Once the moving party has met its burden, to avoid summary judgment the responding party must present sufficient, competent, contradictory evidence to establish a genuine factual dispute. SeeBacchus Indus., Inc. v. Arvin Indus., Inc., 939 F.2d 887, 891 (10th Cir. 1991); Perry v. Woodward, 199 F.3d 1126, 1131 (10th Cir. 1999). If there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact, a trial is ...


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