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T. Thomas Metier
T. Thomas Metier
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Does the Premises Liability Act Provide the Sole Legal Remedy for a Plaintiff on Private Property?

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Attorney Tom MetierThe  Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division VI looked at the Premises Liability Act (“PLA”) in Tancrede v. Freund, (2017 COA 36, March 23, 2017).

Faith Tancrede (“Tancrede”) was a passenger in a car that was in a collision with Duane Freund (“Freund”). Tacrede suffered injuries in the wreck. Freund owned the private property where the crash happened.

Tancrede originally sued for negligence and negligence per se against Freund and the company he owned. Freund moved for summary judgment, arguing that because the collision occurred on his private property, Tancrede was limited to asserting claims under the PLA. The trial court granted the motion. So, Tancrede was allowed to amend her complaint to assert a claim under the PLA. After she filed the amended complaint, Freund again moved for summary judgment. The court determined that Tancrede was a trespasser, and that because she had not claimed any willful or deliberate injury, she was not entitled to relief. It once again granted summary judgment to Freund. Tancrede appealed.

The PLA compels the Court to examine whether the injury happened on the landowner’s property (it did) and whether it was because of the property’s condition (it was not). Freund was working on his property, moving a truck between loading docks. Tancrede could never have been injured but for the fact that she was a trespasser on the property. The PLA specifically prevents claims of negligence and negligence per se against landowners.

Because the wreck happened due to normal activities on Freund’s property, the PLA governed. Under the PLA, the only way Tancrede could recover is to show that Freund injured her willfully. Tancrede did not assert that. Therefore, the lower court was correct in dismissing Tancrede’s claims. The Court of Appeals confirmed the ruling.

The Metier Law Firm is committed to assisting people with personal injury claims throughout Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, and we frequently serve as co-counsel to law firms nationwide. Tom Metier recently secured the largest personal injury verdict in Colorado.

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  1. Bill Birks says:
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    Good article Tom, if/when you have the need for a expert security witness in a premises liability matter, please remember my firm.

    Thanks,
    Bill