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Tancrede v. Freund

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Fourth Division

March 23, 2017

Faith Leah Tancrede, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Duane Freund and Denver East Machinery Company, Defendants-Appellees.

         City and County of Denver District Court No. 14CV34778 Honorable Morris B. Hoffman, Judge

          Announced March 23, 2017 The Viorst Law Offices, P.C., Anthony Viorst, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellant

          Howard Jensen & Dulaney LLC, William B. Dulaney, Colorado Springs, Colorado, for Defendants-Appellees

          OPINION

          TERRY, JUDGE

         ¶ 1 Does the Premises Liability Act (PLA), section 13-21-115, C.R.S. 2016, provide the sole legal remedy for a plaintiff involved in an automobile collision with a defendant landowner on the landowner's private property? We conclude that the answer to this question is "yes." Plaintiff, Faith Leah Tancrede, who claims that she was injured in the collision, was a trespasser on the land and did not allege a willful or deliberate injury. We therefore affirm the summary judgment entered in favor of the landowners, Denver East Machinery Company (DEMC) and Duane Freund, owner and president of DEMC.

         I. Background

         ¶ 2 It is uncontested that defendants owned the private alley where the collision occurred and that plaintiff was a trespasser on that land. Plaintiff was a passenger in a car that was traveling through the alley and collided with a DEMC truck driven by Freund. A police accident report determined that Freund was at fault and drove carelessly when rounding a corner of the DEMC building without looking or slowing down.

         ¶ 3 Plaintiff asserted claims of negligence and negligence per se against defendants. Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that because the collision occurred on their private property, plaintiff was limited to asserting claims under the PLA. The trial court agreed and granted the motion. But plaintiff was permitted to amend her complaint to assert a claim under the PLA. After plaintiff filed the amended complaint, defendants again moved for summary judgment. The court determined that plaintiff was a trespasser, and that because she had not alleged a willful or deliberate injury, she was not entitled to relief. It once again granted summary judgment.

         II. The Premises Liability Act

         ¶ 4 Plaintiff contends that the PLA does not preclude her negligent driving claim against defendants, and that the court erred in entering the initial summary judgment against her. We disagree.

         A. Standards of Review

         ¶ 5 We review a summary judgment de novo. CapitalValue Advisors, LLC v. K2D, Inc., 2013 COA 125, ¶ 14. Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, affidavits, and other supporting documents demonstrate that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. C.R.C.P. 56(c), (h); Gibbons v. Ludlow, 2013 CO 49, ¶ 11. The nonmoving party is entitled to the benefit of all favorable inferences that may reasonably be drawn from the evidence, and all doubts as to the existence of a genuine issue of material fact must be resolved against the moving party. Amos v. Aspen Alps 123, LLC, 2012 CO 46, ¶ 13.

         ¶ 6 We also review the construction of a statute de novo. Lobato v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, 105 P.3d 220, 223 (Colo. 2005). In interpreting a statute, our primary goals are to discern and give effect to the General Assembly's intent. Krol v. CF & I Steel, 2013 COA 32, ¶ 15. We look first to the statutory language, giving the words and phrases used therein their plain and ordinary meanings. Id. We read the language in the dual contexts of the statute as a whole and the comprehensive statutory scheme, giving consistent, harmonious, and sensible effect to all of the statute's language. ...


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