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City of Aspen v. Burlingame Ranch.

2024 CO 46. No. 22SC293. Colorado Governmental Immunity Act—Scope of Immunity—Economic Loss Rule—Subject Matter Jurisdiction.

June 17, 2024


The Supreme Court clarified that its jurisprudence lays out a freestanding, self-sufficient framework for determining whether an action brought against a public entity is barred by the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA), CRS §§ 24-10-101 to -120 , thereby depriving the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction. Therefore, it held that the economic loss rule, a fundamentally different and unrelated doctrine, was not relevant to this inquiry.

Where, as here, the sole question is whether the CGIA precludes a plaintiff’s claims, the Court must consider the nature of the injury underlying the claims and the relief sought. If the injury arises out of tortious conduct or the breach of a duty arising in tort, and the relief seeks to compensate the plaintiff for that injury, it is barred by the CGIA. Even if such claims could arise in both tort and contract, they’re still barred because they “could lie in tort” for purposes of CRS § 24-10-106(1) (emphasis added). It is irrelevant that an analysis under the economic loss rule could prohibit any tort claim. The economic loss rule does not involve a jurisdictional question and cannot come to the rescue of an otherwise CGIA-barred claim. Accordingly, the division’s judgment was reversed, and the case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

The full opinion is available at https://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2022/22SC293.pdf.

Official Colorado Supreme Court proceedings can be found at the Colorado Supreme Court website.

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