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Vikell Investors Pacific, Inc. v. Hampden, Ltd.

Colorado Court of Appeals
946 P.2d 589 (1997)


Facts

Hampden Ltd. (defendant) operated a car dealership on a piece of land it owned at the bottom of a hill. Hampden wanted to expand the parking lot on the property and employed an engineering consultant to determine whether the necessary excavation could be done safely. The engineer found that there was some risk of subsidence on the hill but gave Hampden a detailed plan for moving forward with the project. Hampden completed the excavation and had thousands of cubic yards of soil removed from the base of the hill in the process. Vikell Investors Pacific Inc. (Vikell) (plaintiff) purchased a rundown apartment complex that was located on an uphill property above Hampden’s property. A number of the buildings had foundation cracks and other ongoing issues that indicated subsidence of the hill was occurring. After a number of years of trying to address the problems, Vikell was told by a soil expert that Hampden’s removal of soil from the bottom of the hill had contributed to the slope subsidence. Vikell eventually had to abandon and tear down two of the apartment buildings in the complex because of the increasing instability of the land. Vikell sued Hampden for being strictly and vicariously liable for the subsidence on its land. The lower court found that Hampden was not liable. Vikell appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Davidson, J.)

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