Torts II, Pages 400–401

Cox v. Pearl Investment Co.

Supreme Court of Colorado, 1969

Facts:

Plaintiff fell on defendant's property. Another defendant paid $2,500 to plaintiffs for them to sign a document entitled "Covenant Not to Proceed with Suit."

Procedural History:

Trial court granted defendant summary judgment, calling the covenant a release and ignoring that plaintiffs reserved the right to sue any other person, as releases release all defendants.

Issue:

Did plaintiff release defendant in the document signed with a joint tortfeasor?

Rule:

A release releases all joint tortfeasors, while a covenant not to sue does not.

Reasoning:

Releasing all joint tortfeasors is harsh and illogical. It is evident that the agreement did not intend to release all defendants as the consideration paid was not full satisfaction and it expressly reserved plaintiffs' right to sue others.

Holding:

The document signed was a covenant not to sue, not a release. Therefore defendant is not released. Reversed and remanded.

Like my site?
Slightly less broke than the average law student?
Want to give me money for some reason?

I accept donations!

(Don't feel bad if you don't) (Not tax-deductible)