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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
May 19, 2014

2014 CO 32. No. 12SC543. Young v. Brighton School District 27J.
Governmental Immunity—CRS § 24-10-106(1)(a)–(h).

In this tort case, the Supreme Court held that the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act’s (CGIA) waiver provisions, listed in CRS § 24-10-106(1)(a)–(h), are not mutually exclusive. Rather, each waiver provides an alternative avenue for exposing a public entity to possible tort liability. Thus, the court of appeals erred when it held that the waiver provisions were mutually exclusive and the Court reversed this aspect of the court of appeals’ holding.

The Court also interpreted the CGIA's “recreation area waiver,” codified at CRS §24-10-106(1)(e). It held that an injury that occurred on a walkway adjacent to a public school’s playground does not trigger the application of the recreation area waiver, because the walkway at issue did not qualify as a “public facility.” Accordingly, the Court affirmed the court of appeals’ holding that the public school district did not waive its immunity.

2014 CO 33. No. 12SC631. St. Vrain Valley School District RE-1J v. A.R.L.
Governmental Immunity—CRS § 24-10-106(1)(e).

In this tort case, the Supreme Court interpreted the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act’s “recreation area waiver,” CRS § 24-10-106(1)(e). The Court held 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 Court thus affirmed 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 Court also held that the public facility (the playground equipment) is “located in” the “recreation area” of the playground. It remanded the case to the trial court for further fact finding with regard to the remaining requirements of the recreation area waiver.

2014 CO 34. No. 12SC908. Daniel v. City of Colorado Springs.
Governmental Immunity—CRS § 24-10-106(1)(e).

In this tort case, the Supreme Court interpreted the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act’s “recreation area waiver,” CRS §24-10-106(1)(e). The Court held that a parking lot serving a public golf course can qualify as a “public facility” under the recreation area waiver. Accordingly, the court of appeals erred when it categorically held that such a parking lot does not qualify as a “public facility,” and the Court reversed the court of appeals’ holding.

The Court further held that a three-step analysis should be employed to determine whether a public facility is “located in” a “recreation area” for purposes of the recreation area waiver. First, a court examines the underlying piece of contiguous public property to identify the “putative recreation area.” Second, a court should determine whether the public entity’s primary purpose in building or maintaining that area was the promotion of recreation. Third, a court should determine whether the public facility at issue was located within the boundaries of that area. Applying this three-step analysis to the case at bar, the Court held that the golf course grounds—which include the golf course’s parking lot—is a “recreation area” and that the parking lot is “located in” this area. The Court remanded the case to the trial court for further fact-finding with regard to the remaining requirements of the recreation area waiver.

2014 CO 35. No. 14SA17. Board of County Commissioners of the County of Teller v. City of Woodland Park.
Municipal Annexation Act of 1965—Filing a Motion for Reconsideration Within Ten Days of the Effective Date of the Annexation Ordinance is a Precondition to Obtaining Judicial Review—CRS § 31-12-116(2)(a)(II).

The Supreme Court held that the district court does not have jurisdiction to review Teller County’s petition for judicial review of an annexation by the City of Woodland Park (City) under CRS §31-12-116. CRS § 31-12-116(2)(a)(II) requires a party to file a motion for reconsideration with the governing body of the annexing municipality within ten days of the effective date of an annexation ordinance as a precondition for obtaining judicial review of a municipal annexation. The petition for reconsideration with the City should have been filed by September 16, 2013, but was not filed until September 20, 2013.

2014 CO 36. No. 14SA37. People v. Webb.
Search Pursuant to Warrant.

In this case, the Supreme Court considered whether the search of a purse is within the scope of a search warrant. The police searched Webb’s purse when they executed a search warrant for her house, which they had obtained after identifying indicia that Webb’s adult son, A.W., was using methamphetamine in the house.

The Court held that because the purse was found in a room to which A.W. had access, and because the purse was a container in which A.W. reasonably could have hidden contraband, the search of Webb’s purse was within the scope of the search warrant. The Court therefore reversed the trial court’s order suppressing the evidence that the police found in Webb’s purse and remanded the case to that court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

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