August 21, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Trial Court Must Decide Before Trial if Party Is Immune from Suit Pursuant to Aviation and Transportation Security Act

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper on March 19, 2012.

Defamation—Statutory Immunity—Actual Malice.

The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ judgment and held that a trial court must decide before trial if a party is immune from suit pursuant to the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), 49 U.S.C. § 44941. The Court held that (1) Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation was not immune from suit for defamation under the ATSA; (2) the record showed clear and convincing evidence to support a finding of actual malice; (3) Air Wisconsin’s statements were not protected as opinion; and (4) the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s determination that the statements were false.

Summary and full case available here.

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