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Maphis v. City of Boulder.

2022 CO 10. No. 20SC646. Colorado Governmental Immunity Act—Sovereign Immunity—Dangerous Condition.

February 22, 2022

The Supreme Court reviewed de novo whether a sidewalk deviation constituted a “dangerous condition” under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). After tripping and falling over a two­and-a-half-inch sidewalk deviation in the City of Boulder, plaintiff sued the City for her injuries under the CGIA. The City moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that the sidewalk deviation did not constitute a “dangerous condition”—defined as an “unreasonable risk to the health and safety of the public”—that would waive its immunity from suit. The district court denied the City’s motion based on its finding that the deviation was “difficult to detect” and was larger than what the City classified as a “hazard” warranting repair.  The City appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the undisputed evidence failed to establish that the sidewalk presented the type of dangerous condition for which the City had waived its immunity from suit.

Applying the standard set forth in City and County of Denver v. Dennis, 2018 CO 37, to the undisputed facts of this case, the Court held that the sidewalk condition did not create a chance of injury, damage, or loss that exceeds the bounds of reason. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Court of Appeals’ judgment and held that the City retained its immunity from suit under the CGIA.

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