U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Salida Gas Service Co., No. 88CA1289

Docket NºNo. 88CA1289
Citation793 P.2d 602
Case DateDecember 21, 1989
CourtCourt of Appeals of Colorado

Page 602

793 P.2d 602
UNITED STATES FIDELITY & GUARANTY COMPANY, as Subrogee of J.
Scott Brown and Mary B. Brown, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SALIDA GAS SERVICE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 88CA1289.
Colorado Court of Appeals,
Div. I.
Dec. 21, 1989.

Dickson, Everstine, Kelly & Prud'Homme, Michelle Prud'Homme, Denver, for plaintiff-appellee.

Elder & Phillips, P.C., Keith Boughton, Grand Junction, for defendant-appellant.

Opinion by Judge METZGER.

Defendant, Salida Gas Service Company, appeals the judgment finding it negligent for a gas explosion which destroyed the house of the subrogor of plaintiff, United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company (U.S.F. & G.). We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand with directions.

In 1983, the Browns purchased a house in Crested Butte. In 1984, they hired Rick Lambert to remodel the property. During remodeling, Lambert moved the propane gas meter from a protected place on the porch to the north side of the house. Crested Butte Plumbing Company then connected the piping from the gas meter to the house. At all times relevant here, the gas meter and piping were owned by Salida Gas.

Page 603

In 1986, the Brown's property was destroyed by a propane gas explosion. U.S.F. & G. paid them $121,578.09 for property damage pursuant to their insurance policy. U.S.F. & G. then initiated this action as subrogee of the Browns against Salida Gas and Crested Butte Plumbing Company.

Before trial, U.S.F. & G. accepted Crested Butte Plumbing's offer of judgment for $5,000, and dismissed it from the lawsuit. Salida Gas then designated several non-parties having fault, including Lambert and Crested Butte Plumbing.

At trial, the jury found Salida Gas to be 60 percent negligent and Lambert 40 percent negligent. It further found that Crested Butte Plumbing was not negligent. After the verdict, Salida Gas moved to reduce the damages by $5,000, the amount of the settlement reached between U.S.F. & G. and Crested Butte Plumbing. The trial court denied the motion and this appeal followed.

I.

Salida Gas initially contends that the trial court committed reversible error when it refused to inform the jury of the settlement between U.S.F. & G. and Crested Butte Plumbing Company. However, Salida Gas has failed to provide us with any record concerning this allegation. Consequently, we must presume that the trial court's determination was correct. Herrera v. Anderson, 736 P.2d 416 (Colo.App.1987). See also Greenemeier v. Spencer, 719 P.2d 710 (Colo.1986).

II.

Salida Gas next contends that the instructions defining its requisite duty of care were erroneous. We find no error.

Liquid propane gas is a dangerous substance that must be handled with care and caution commensurate with its dangerous character. Grange Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Golden Gas Co., 133 Colo. 537, 298 P.2d 950 (1956). If an alleged tortfeasor is engaged in the business of supplying propane gas, the jury must be instructed that the highest degree of care is required for the distribution of propane. Blueflame Gas, Inc. v. Van Hoose, 679 P.2d 579 (Colo.1984).

The record shows that the explosion was caused by a leak of propane gas in the high pressure piping connected to the meter outside the house. The gas was trapped against the house by snow, and collected in the crawl space, where it was ignited by the furnace pilot light. Salida Gas owned all distribution equipment up to and including the gas meter, and had the responsibility to maintain that equipment. Since the pipe that was the source of the leak was distribution equipment, the trial court did not err by instructing the...

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11 practice notes
  • Green v. Qwest Services Corp., 04CA1938.
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • 23 Febrero 2006
    ...22 P.3d 554 (Colo.App. 2000); Bennett v. Greeley Gas Co., 969 P.2d 754 (Colo.App.1998); U.S. Fid. & Guar. Co. v. Salida Gas Serv. Co., 793 P.2d 602 (Colo. App.1989), overruled on other grounds by Smith v. Zufelt, 880 P.2d 1178 (Colo.1994); Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Pub. Serv. Co., 676 P.2d ......
  • Van Waters & Rogers, Inc. v. Keelan, 91SC549
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 23 Noviembre 1992
    ...or the legislative history surrounding its enactment. Van Waters, 820 P.2d at 1147. In U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Salida Gas Serv. Co., 793 P.2d 602, 604 (Colo.App.1989), however, a different panel of the court of appeals did rely in part on the legislative history in interpreting the sta......
  • Smith v. Zufelt, 92SC845
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 12 Septiembre 1994
    ...were "substantially less" than the percentage of total damages charged to the settling party by the jury); U.S. Fidelity v. Salida Gas, 793 P.2d 602 (Colo.App.1989) (applying the amount statute where the settling nonparty was found 0% liable because the amount statute was enacted last in ti......
  • Halliburton v. Public Service Co. of Colorado, 88CA1368
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • 28 Junio 1990
    ...See Union Supply Co. v. Pust, 196 Colo. 162, 583 P.2d 276 (1978); see also United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Salida Gas Co., 793 P.2d 602 Therefore, primarily because of the service component of defendant's business and the involvement of defendant's gas product in the deterioration ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • Green v. Qwest Services Corp., No. 04CA1938.
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • 23 Febrero 2006
    ...22 P.3d 554 (Colo.App. 2000); Bennett v. Greeley Gas Co., 969 P.2d 754 (Colo.App.1998); U.S. Fid. & Guar. Co. v. Salida Gas Serv. Co., 793 P.2d 602 (Colo. App.1989), overruled on other grounds by Smith v. Zufelt, 880 P.2d 1178 (Colo.1994); Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Pub. Serv. Co., 676 P.2d ......
  • Van Waters & Rogers, Inc. v. Keelan, No. 91SC549
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 23 Noviembre 1992
    ...or the legislative history surrounding its enactment. Van Waters, 820 P.2d at 1147. In U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Salida Gas Serv. Co., 793 P.2d 602, 604 (Colo.App.1989), however, a different panel of the court of appeals did rely in part on the legislative history in interpreting the sta......
  • Smith v. Zufelt, No. 92SC845
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 12 Septiembre 1994
    ...were "substantially less" than the percentage of total damages charged to the settling party by the jury); U.S. Fidelity v. Salida Gas, 793 P.2d 602 (Colo.App.1989) (applying the amount statute where the settling nonparty was found 0% liable because the amount statute was enacted last in ti......
  • Halliburton v. Public Service Co. of Colorado, No. 88CA1368
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • 28 Junio 1990
    ...See Union Supply Co. v. Pust, 196 Colo. 162, 583 P.2d 276 (1978); see also United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Salida Gas Co., 793 P.2d 602 Therefore, primarily because of the service component of defendant's business and the involvement of defendant's gas product in the deterioration ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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