Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act Passes in Colorado

Colorado Snow Plowing Service Liability Law PassesOn May 30, 2018, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law Senate Bill 18-062, referred to as the “Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act” (the Act), codified at C.R.S. § 13-21-129. The Act is based on model legislation drafted by the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA), which saw similar legislation pass in Illinois, with bills before lawmakers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Massachusetts. The primary focus of the Act is to void certain indemnity agreements that are common in condominium association and commercial property snow removal contracts. It becomes effective on August 8, 2018.

What this Means for Colorado Snow Removal Contractors?

Contractors are no longer responsible to assume defense and indemnity obligations for acts that they did not commit. Under previous law, ambiguous contract language terms such as “arising out of” and “based upon” created strategic loop holes for owner/manager’s to hold contractors responsible for such acts. For example, a contract might dictate that the contractor not plow until there are two inches of accumulation on the ground. Before the Liability Limitation Act passed, contractors could still be held responsible for a slip-and-fall incident when there was only one inch of accumulation on the ground and the contractor was not even required to plow. The intended effect of the Act is the elimination of such broad indemnity and ensure that liability is assigned to the party at fault.

The Act provides snow removal contractors and their insurers a measure of relief as they no longer have to assume liability for acts the contractor did not commit. Owners and managers who view blanket indemnity provisions as a means of protecting themselves may find they are no longer able to shift risk in this manner. New or existing snow and ice removal contracts should be reviewed by legal counsel to ensure that they provide acceptable terms within the bounds of the act. The new legislation, however, does not apply to contracts for services on public roads, at public utilities, or at public or other commercial airports. C.R.S. § 13-21-129(4)(a-c). It also does not apply to “an insurance policy, a surety bond, or workers’ compensation.” C.R.S. § 13-21-129(4)(d).

Learn More About the Snow Removal Liability Limitations Act

On August 28, ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride, and ASCA General Counsel, Josh Ferguson, will be leading a half-day seminar in Denver on the new law and how it impacts Colorado snow and ice management companies. The event is supported by the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado ALCC.

Event Details:

Understanding the Snow Removal Liability Limitations Act
: Lowry Conference Center, 1061 Akron Way., Room 100B-C, Denver, CO 80230
Date: Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $150/person for ALCC and ASCA* members, $175/person for non-members. Register online or contact Rachael Coleman at 303 757-5611 by August 24. Register now–space is limited!

1:00 – 1:30:  Overview of the new legislation — Kevin Gilbride/Josh Ferguson
1:30 – 2:30:  Managing risk in your snow business in the new environment — Josh Ferguson
2:30 – 3:00:  Break
3:00 – 4:00:  How to position your company for success under the new law — Kevin Gilbride
4:00 – 5:00:  Managing against the slip fall and how to handle on when you do get sued — Panel discussion

*ASCA members: to receive member pricing, please contact ASCA or ALCC to get your ASCA member discount code. [Membership will be verified.]