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Edwards v. New Century Hospice, Inc.

2023 CO 49. No. 23SA91. Statutory Immunity—Principles of Statutory Interpretation—Definition of “Person.”

September 25, 2023

The Supreme Court considered whether the trial court properly denied immunity to New Century Hospice, Inc. (New Century) and its subsidiaries under four different statutes.

Three of the statutes only authorize immunity for a “person.” CRS §§ 12-20-402(1), 12-255-123(2), and 18-6.5-108(3). Relying on the plain meaning of “person,” the Court held that a corporate defendant is not entitled to immunity because it does not meet the definition of “person” as defined in these three statutes.

The fourth statute explicitly entitles corporations to immunity, but only if certain conditions are met. See CRS § 18-8-115. Applying the plain language of the statute, the Court held that New Century is not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of immunity under this statute because it failed to demonstrate that all such conditions were met.

Accordingly, the Court discharged the rule to show cause.

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

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