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Blueflame Gas, Inc. v. Van Hoose

679 P.2d 579 (1984)

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Blueflame Gas, Inc. v. Van Hoose

Colorado Supreme Court

679 P.2d 579 (1984)

Facts

James and Louisa Van Hoose (consumers) (plaintiffs) sued Phillips Petroleum Company (Phillips), Diamond Shamrock Corporation (Shamrock), and Blueflame Gas, Inc. (Blueflame) (defendants), for damages that resulted from a propane-gas explosion in the consumers’ home. The consumers specifically alleged that the propane in their tank was not properly odorized, as required by applicable regulations, nor was their tank tested before it was sold to them, nor were they properly warned about the tank’s inadequate odorization. At trial, the consumers requested a jury instruction that defined the applicable standard of care to be proportional to the degree of danger involved and that those who control exceptionally dangerous instrumentalities must take exceptional precautions to prevent injuries from those dangerous instrumentalities. The trial court refused the instruction and instead instructed the jury that negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. The jury returned verdicts in favor of Phillips, Shamrock, and Blueflame, and the consumers appealed. The court of appeals found that the trial court’s standard-of-care instruction was erroneous and reversed the decision below and ordered a new trial. Phillips, Shamrock, and Blueflame appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Quinn, J.)

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