Radil v. Sanborn Western Camps, Inc., 03-1343.

Citation384 F.3d 1220
Decision Date22 September 2004
Docket NumberNo. 03-1343.,03-1343.
PartiesJennifer RADIL, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SANBORN WESTERN CAMPS, INC., a Colorado corporation, Defendant-Appellee, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Amicus Curiae.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, Marcia Krieger, J Thomas L. Roberts (Bradley A. Levin, Daniel W. Patterson, and Michael J. Rosenberg with him on the briefs), Roberts Levin & Patterson, P.C., Denver, CO, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Diane Vaksdal Smith (Peter W. Burg and David K. TeSelle with her on the brief) Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., Englewood, CO, for Defendant-Appellee.

James M. Wagstaffe and Ivo LaBar, Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP, San Francisco, CA, filed an Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, in support of Plaintiff-Appellant.

Before SEYMOUR, McKAY, and TYMKOVICH, Circuit Judges.

TYMKOVICH, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant Jennifer Radil was seriously injured in an automobile accident during an outing with her coworkers. She applied for and was denied Colorado workers' compensation benefits. She then filed this respondeat superior diversity suit against her employer under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (2000). The district court dismissed her suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) because it concluded that her exclusive remedy was through state workers' compensation proceedings. The district court found that because Radil was injured in the scope of her employment, the negligence claims against her employer were barred by state law.

We take jurisdiction of Radil's appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (2000). In this appeal, we have to decide whether the district court erred in concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear Radil's negligence claims. We conclude the court has jurisdiction, and, therefore reverse and remand.

I. Factual and Procedural Background
A. Factual Background

During the summer of 2000, Radil worked as an assistant counselor for High Trails Camp, a girls' summer camp owned and operated by defendant Sanborn Western Camps, Inc. ("Sanborn") in Western Colorado. All of the assistant counselors were young women who had finished their first year in college. Their employment term consisted of two five-week summer camp sessions.

The assistant counselors performed many duties, including preparing and cleaning up after meals, assisting with camp activities, and helping counselors supervise campers. In addition, they were on call at all times to provide leadership and supervision, as well as to respond to "current and emergency situations." App. at 1370. Their time off during the summer included four days of general leave and alternating weekend leave.

Katie Pigott supervised the assistant counselors. Her supervisors were Camp Director Janet Sanborn Van West and Assistant Camp Director Julie Richardson. These three leaders designated July 10, a day approximately halfway through the summer, as "Assistant Counselor Appreciation Day." According to Pigott, Van West, and Richardson, the purpose of this special day was to improve morale. The assistant counselors were thus offered a choice of activities to do as a group. The twelve women chose to participate in a white-water river-rafting trip partially paid for by Sanborn.

Thereafter, Richardson selected a location and an outfitter for the rafting trip and made a reservation. The camp agreed to pay fifteen dollars towards the cost of the trip, leaving a fifteen dollar cost to be paid by each assistant counselor. Although the camp initially agreed to provide transportation via camp vans, later the camp informed the women that no vans would be available and that they would have to provide their own transportation.

On the morning of the outing, only two of the twelve participating women were able to drive personal vehicles. Four women climbed into one assistant counselor's car, while the other seven women rode in the other vehicle — a Jeep Cherokee driven by Dana Richardson. Two women, including Radil, rode without seatbelts in the rear cargo compartment of the Jeep. En route, Dana Richardson lost control of her vehicle. It rolled and in the process ejected Radil, leaving her a quadriplegic.

B. Procedural Background

Shortly after the accident, Radil filed a workers' compensation claim against Sanborn under Colorado law. In Colorado workers' compensation benefits enure only "[w]here, at the time of the injury, the employee is performing service arising out of and in the course of the employee's employment." Colo.Rev.Stat. § 8-41-301(1)(b) (1999) (the "Colorado Act"). Pinnacol Assurance, Sanborn's workers' compensation insurer, denied recovery after Sanborn represented to Pinnacol that Radil's injuries were not work-related and did not occur in the scope and course of her employment. See App. at 1226. Therefore, because she could not receive workers' compensation, in March 2001 Radil filed a federal diversity action against Sanborn in the District of Colorado, alleging that Sanborn had been negligent in planning and organizing transportation for the activity and that Sanborn was vicariously liable for Dana Richardson's negligent driving.1

Sanborn filed three pretrial motions. In the first of these, a motion for summary judgment filed in April 2002, Sanborn asserted that it was immune from liability because either Radil's injuries were work-related and therefore Colorado workers' compensation law provided Radil's exclusive remedy or, alternatively, Radil's injuries were not work-related and Sanborn owed no duty of care to Radil. See App. at 530. In September 2002, the district court denied this motion after reviewing the record and concluding that genuine issues of material fact existed regarding whether Radil's injuries arose out of and in the course of her employment.

On February 17, 2003, Sanborn filed an Application for Hearing and Notice to Set with the Colorado Division of Administrative Hearings (the "Division"), seeking to reactivate Radil's workers' compensation proceedings and to force the Division to rule again on the question of compensability in advance of the federal jury trial scheduled to commence in June 2003. Id. at 561. Three days later, Sanborn filed its second pretrial motion — a motion to stay the federal trial pending the resolution of the newly reactivated state workers' compensation proceedings. Id. at 537. In the alternative, Sanborn asked the district court to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Radil's injuries occurred within the scope of her employment. Id.

This second attempt by Sanborn to eliminate the case from federal court failed, however, because on May 2, 2003, the Division stayed the state workers' compensation proceedings pending resolution of the district court case. Id. at 777. Then, on May 9, the district court denied Sanborn's motion to stay. First, it found that because the state agency had stayed its proceedings pending resolution of the district court case, no reason existed for the district court to defer the litigation. Id. at 806. Second, it held that it would violate Radil's Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial to decide the scope of Radil's employment after only an evidentiary hearing. Id. at 814.

Finally, on April 22, 2003, Sanborn made its final attempt to extinguish the case by filing a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Sanborn maintained that under Stuart v. Colorado Interstate Gas Co., 271 F.3d 1221 (10th Cir.2001), the district court had no jurisdiction over the suit because Colorado workers' compensation law provided Radil's exclusive remedy.2 See App. at 752. In response, Radil contended that whether state law barred her civil suit was a factually disputed affirmative defense. Thus, it did not present a jurisdictional question and Sanborn bore the burden of proving the defense at trial. Id. at 787.

At the final trial preparation conference on May 14, 2003, the district court addressed the parties' arguments and concluded under Stuart that whether Colorado workers' compensation law provided Radil's exclusive remedy was a jurisdictional issue. Because a court must be satisfied that jurisdiction exists before proceeding to the merits of a case, the district court determined that it had to resolve the issue prior to trial. Id. at 824-25. It asked Radil what sort of a hearing it should have regarding subject matter jurisdiction, and Radil initially asserted that a jury was required. Id. at 825. However, she ultimately "agree[d] to the Court determining the issue" when the court advised her that by insisting on a jury trial for the issue of subject matter jurisdiction, she would force the court to conduct two trials (one to determine the scope of employment to decide whether exclusivity and consequently subject matter jurisdiction existed and one to address the merits). Id. at 825-26. Nevertheless, in a pretrial brief she submitted one month before the evidentiary hearing, Radil again contended that Sanborn bore the burden of proving as an affirmative defense at trial that workers' compensation was Radil's exclusive remedy. Id. at 856 n. 2.

The district court held an evidentiary hearing on July 8, 2003, to determine if it had subject matter jurisdiction over Radil's suit. To that end, it made findings regarding the state workers' compensation bar. This inquiry turned on whether the activity arose out of and in the course of Radil's employment, which depended in part on the voluntary or involuntary nature of Radil's participation in the activity. After the evidentiary hearing, the court found that all assistant counselors were required to attend the trip and therefore that Radil's injuries arose out of and in the course of her employment. Thus, it concluded that...

To continue reading

Request your trial
458 cases
  • Parsons v. Velasquez
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Mexico
    • July 30, 2021
    ...between the parties must be complete. See Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. at 68, 117 S.Ct. 467 ; Radil v. Sanborn W. Camps, Inc., 384 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir. 2004). In addition to the original jurisdiction requirements, 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2) lays out the "forum-defendant rule," whic......
  • Beaman v. Mountain Am. Fed. Credit Union
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Utah
    • April 30, 2020
    ...and may only hear cases ‘when empowered to do so by the Constitution and by act of Congress.’ " Radil v. Sanborn Western Camps, Inc. , 384 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir. 2004) (quoting 16 James Wm. Moore, Moore's Federal Practice § 108.04(2) (3d ed. 2003)). It is well settled that "no action of......
  • Image Software v. Reynolds and Reynolds Co
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • August 23, 2006
    ...Image and the auto dealers Image sued are Colorado corporations. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1), (c)(1); see also Radii v. Sanborn W. Camps, Inc., 384 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir.2004) (noting that, "to establish subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, a party must show that compete d......
  • De La Rosa v. Reliable, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Mexico
    • June 27, 2015
    ...Diversity between the parties must be complete. See Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. at 68, 117 S.Ct. 467 ; Radil v. Sanborn W. Camps, Inc., 384 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir.2004). In addition to the requirements of original jurisdiction, § 1441(b)(2) lays out the "forum-defendant rule," wh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Update on Colorado Appellate Decisions in Workers' Compensation Law
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 34-4, April 2005
    • Invalid date
    ...tort actions against an employer or statutory employer are barred. Horodyskyj v. Karanian, 332 P.3d 470, 474 (Colo. 2001). 2. Radil, 384 F.3d 1220 (10th Cir. 3. Elliot, 381 F.3d 995 (10th Cir. 2004). 4. Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S.Ct. 817, 82 L.Ed. 1188 (1938). 5. Radil was......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT