United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT
VISIT OGDEN'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Waddoups United States District Judge.
the court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant
Ogden/Weber Convention Visitors Bureau (“Visit
Ogden”) (ECF No. 42). The motion has been fully
briefed, and the court heard argument on the same at a
hearing held on December 19, 2019. At the conclusion of that
hearing, the court GRANTED Visit Ogden's
motion and advised that it would issue a written order
expanding upon its oral ruling.
August 25, 2014, Plaintiff was injured when he hit a road
barrier while riding his bicycle. At the time of the
accident, Plaintiff was pre-riding the designated course for
the 2014 USA Cycling Masters Road Championship. The course
map that he received as part of his race materials did not
depict, or otherwise warn riders of, the road barrier.
Plaintiff brings this action against USA Cycling, Inc.
(“USAC”), Breakaway Promotions, LLC
(“Breakaway”), and Visit Ogden, asserting that
each is responsible for his injuries and is liable for
negligence. Visit Ogden has moved for summary judgment,
arguing that as a matter of law, it did not owe Plaintiff a
duty of care.
judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
A material fact is one that may affect the outcome of the
litigation. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The moving party bears the initial
burden of showing an absence of evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). “Once the
moving party meets this burden, the burden shifts to the
nonmoving party to demonstrate a genuine issue for trial on a
material matter.” Id. The court must
“view the evidence and draw reasonable inferences
therefrom in a light most favorable to the nonmoving
party.” Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Sea Harvest
Seafood Co., 251 F.3d 1294, 1298 (10th Cir. 2001).
order to prevail on his claim of negligence, Plaintiff must
show that Visit Ogden owed him a duty, that it breached that
duty, that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of his
injury, and that he suffered injuries or damages. See
Webb v. Univ. of Utah, 2005 UT 80, ¶ 9, 125 P.3d
906, 909. In support of these elements, Plaintiff alleges
that by entering into a contract with USCA (“the
Contract”) to assist with the race, Visit Ogden owed
him a duty to provide a safe course; that it breached that
duty by failing to warn him of the barrier that was on the
course prior to race day; that its failure to warn caused him
to crash into that barrier; and that he suffered injuries as
a result of the crash. Visit Ogden argues that
Plaintiff's claim fails as a matter of law because it did
not owe him a duty of care, as it did not enter into a
contract with USAC until after Plaintiff was injured and that
under the contract, it did not undertake a duty, let alone
one owed to Plaintiff, to maintain a safe course or warn
racers of potential dangers.
No genuine issues of material facts exist as to whether
Visit Ogden owed Plaintiff a duty of care.
argues that genuine issues of material fact exist as to the
role that Visit Ogden played in designing, maintaining, and
ensuring the safety of the race course. Visit Ogden responds
that such questions are irrelevant to Plaintiff's claim,
as each arises under the Contract, which was not entered into
until eight days after Plaintiff was injured. (See
ECF No. 42-11). The court agrees. Because the undisputed
facts show that the Contract was not executed until after
Plaintiff was injured, any questions as to the scope of the
responsibilities Visit Ogden assumed under that contract are
immaterial to this action.
the Contract had been effective when Plaintiff was injured,
no genuine dispute would exist as to whether the obligations
that Visit Ogden undertook thereunder created a duty of care
owed to Plaintiff. Plaintiff argues that two terms of the
Contract create material questions of fact: that Visit Ogden
was required to “[a]ssist and consult with USAC on the
design of the course . . ., ” and that it was
responsible for “a complete and groomed course”
which required it to provide a course that “should be
ready to race.” (See ECF No. 42-11 at 7, 23).
the first provision, the undisputed facts show that Visit
Ogden was not called upon to assist or consult with USAC on
the design of the course, as those actions were undertaken
exclusively by Breakaway. (See ECF No. 42-6 at
89:17-90:6, 91:17-20, 93:4-12, 92:9-93:3, 94:4-16; ECF No.
42-3 at 25:9-12; ECF No. 42-7 at 13:15-14:25, 15:10-17:13,
49:1-51:3). Rather, while Visit Ogden may have initially
proposed a possible course, the actual creation and design of
the course was developed exclusively by Breakaway.
(See ECF No. 42-3 at 17:2-20, 25:9-12; 42-7 at
13:15-14:25). As such, there is not a genuine dispute of fact
as to whether a duty arose as a result of Visit Ogden's
creation or design of the course.
second provision Plaintiff relies on is immaterial to the
basis for his negligence claim-that Visit Ogden failed to
warn him of the barrier on the course. Even when read in the
light most favorable to Plaintiff, Visit Ogden's
contractual obligation to USAC to provide a safe course does
not create an obligation that Visit Ogden take steps to warn
race participants who would pre-ride the course of potential
dangers. Indeed, the Contract contains no provisions, and
establishes no requirements, that Visit Ogden is to
communicate with riders.
As a matter of law, Visit Ogden did not owe Plaintiff a
duty of care.
alleges that through its contract with USAC, Visit Ogden
“has the obligation to assist and consult with [USAC]
on course design, to provide safe road closures as necessary,
and to maintain general public safety.” (ECF No. 48 at
5). As discussed above, because Plaintiff alleges that Visit
Ogden's contract with USAC was the genesis from which its
alleged duty arose, ...