Colorado is a state that attracts many people because of its recreational opportunities. There are countless public parks in the state that are used by residents and visitors alike.
However, the need for access to Colorado’s beautiful landscape sometimes interferes with the desires of businesses and land owners.
Recently, media mogul Oprah Winfrey was sued for allegedly blocking access to hiking trails with a property near Telluride. The case was dismissed because of jurisdictional issues, but the judge noted that there is also little case law to support the claims made in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed by an individual who owns land next to the 66-acre property that was purchased by a company owned by Winfrey, called Yellow Brick Road, a few months ago.
The lawsuit alleged that the previous owners of the property arranged a secret agreement with Winfrey and the town where the property is situated in order to reclassify tails in the area for which access used to be provided by easements.
The lawsuit claimed that proper public notice was not given before the town agreed to reclassify the trails, thereby blocking access.
When dismissing the case, the judge acknowledged that proper public notice likely had not been provided; however, the lawsuit was not filed within the 28-day time period to make a complaint.
It was not reported whether the property owner plans to re-file the case with the town’s municipal court, which the judge said has jurisdiction over the issue.
As you can see, land disputes can get very complex in Colorado, especially when conflicting interests are involved between land owners, businesses and towns. An experienced business law attorney is vital asset when disputes like this occur.
Source: Telluride Daily Planet, “MV trails case dismissed,” Collin McRann, July 15, 2014