Case Identification: Geringer v. Wildhorn Ranch Inc. 706 F. Supp. 1442 (1988)





Geringer v. Wildhorn Ranch, Inc

Case Identification: Geringer v. Wildhorn Ranch Inc. 706 F. Supp. 1442 (1988)

Procedural History

Appealed from a jury verdict.


The plaintiff Diane Geringer in her own name and as guardian to her minor daughter Tara Geringer files this action against the Wildhorn Ranch Inc seeking damages for personal injuries and the wrongful death of her husband William Geringer and minor son Jared Geringer. The Geringer family was on vacation at the Wildhorn Ranch Resort located in Teller County, Colorado (“Geringer v. Wildhorn Ranch, Inc.”). Plaintiffs’ case focused on repairs made a short time before the accident and defendants’ knowledge that the boats leaked, filled with water, and became unstable. William and Jarred Geringer drowned during a boating accident on a lake. Paddle boating was among the recreational facilities offered by the resort. Defendant M.R. Watters, who owned the ranch, deeded it over to Wildhorn Ranch Inc granting operational and management authority to them. Defendant Les Bretzke, an independent contractor, had a company who provided repair and construction services to the resort and the homeowners association. Defendants’ case for comparative or contributory negligence argued that the Geringer family took out a boat secured at the lakeshore and did not wear life jackets (“Geringer v. Wildhorn Ranch, Inc.”).


Does the evidence show that Wildhorn Ranch Inc. was the alter ego of defendant M.R. Watters?


Yes, the preponderance of the evidence indicates that Wildhorn Ranch Inc. was the alter ego of defendant M.R. Watters according to the law as stated in these instructions.


Where a person is the principal stockholder of one or more corporations and personally conducts the organization’s business or manages its assets, they are individually liable for the corporate obligations by proving these three factors:

  1. That they have consistently engaged in a course of conduct by which they have ignored the existence of the corporate entity or entities.
  2. That they have conducted business as an individual by exercising such paramount and personal control over the operations of the corporation or corporations that their corporate existence has been disregarded and their business interests and his personal interests cannot be reasonably separated.
  3. That their domination of the corporation caused injury to the plaintiff so as to continue to recognize the existence of a separate corporate entity would promote injustice.


Major factors that instituted the jury verdict were:

  1. Evidence presented at the court shows that individuals consistently disregarded the legalities of the corporate form, therefore, dominating the affairs of the corporation. R. Watters’ testimony and others people who operated the resort and admitted various corporate records highlight the presence of corporate alter ego. The jury found that all of the parties had been negligent and that their negligence had caused the plaintiffs’ injuries.
  2. The defendants argued that the Colorado premises liability statute applied to the case rather than common law simple negligence. They note that the statute provides the exclusive remedy for injuries incurred on the premises of the landowner (“Colorado Premises Liability Act.”). The statute does not highlight a feudal realm of absolute protection from liability for simple negligence based on a defendant’s status as a landowner. Jury denies the motion by defendants Watters and Bretzke for a new trial based on submission of the case on grounds of simple negligence rather than premises liability.
  • Sufficient evidence that supports the ruling by the jury confirms that Wildhorn Ranch Inc. was the alter ego of M.R. Watters and that he was liable for his negligence as well as that of the corporation. The plaintiff claims that as the owner of the Ranch, Watters is responsible for the deliberate negligence of its employees and that his actions as a corporate officer were deliberately negligent causing injury to the plaintiff. Plaintiffs stressed on corporate alter ego with detailed evidence, which included the lack of documentary proof.


M.R Watters is found liable for plaintiffs’ injuries for his own negligence and that of Wildhorn Ranch Inc. Failure to concentrate on services offered by the ranch and its employees resulted in the plaintiffs’ injuries.


Peter K. Dementas v. Estate Jack Tallas

Case Identification: Peter K. Dementas v. Estate Jack Tallas., 764 P.2d 628. Utah App., November 17, 1988.

Procedural History

Appealed from the trial court decision.


Peter Dementas, a close friend to Tallas, assisted him in various aspects after Tallas migrated from Greece. Tallas lived in Salt Lake for over seventy years where he acquired a massive amount of wealth. Peter Dementas knew Tallas for over a period of fourteen yeas as an insurance agent and a proprietor. Tallas in his late years resided at Little America Hotel. Aware of his old age, Tallas met with Dementas dictating a memorandum stating that he owes Dementas $50,000 for all his help over the years. Dementas assisted Tallas in the management of his rental properties, picking up his mail, and driving him to the grocery store (“Dementas v. Estate of Tallas.”). Tallas had already written his will, however, stated that he would change it and include Dementas as an “heir for the sum $50,000.” The memorandum drafted in Greek was retyped in English, notarized by Tallas using his own notary seal and three days later delivered to Dementas. Tallas died leaving a substantial fortune and without changing his will to include Dementas as an “heir.” These events caused Dementas to file a claim of $50,000 with Tallas estate attaching a copy of the memorandum drafted by Tallas (“Global Law and Regulation.”). After a denial of by the estate of the claim, Dementas brought this case to recover the $50,000. This case proceeded to trial owing to the fact that in its pretrial order, the issue of quantum meruit, which is a contract to make a change or modify a will, arose. The court established that according to the law, “an acknowledgment of a previously existing debt resulting from a previously existing contract” applied. Through extensive testimony from witnesses and numerous exhibits, the court concluded that Tallas free from fraud, duress or influence drafted the memorandum (“Dementas v. Estate of Tallas”).


Did the memorandum constitute an enforceable contract to the claims?


No, the memorandum in both Greek and English versions showed that Tallas intended to compensate Dementas for his help over the years.


Major factors that instituted the Court’s ruling were:

  1. The trial court identifies that the claim adequately gave a notice of claim against the estate through the personal representative that reflects an unduly restrictive view of the requirement for validly making a claim on personal representatives in Utah. It would be anomalous to conclude that a claimant who opts for the less formal method of asserting a claim pursuant must give more detailed notice than would be required in an adequate complaint (“Global Law and Regulation”).
  2. The claim made by the plaintiff highlights that the amount owed to him is indebted for services rendered and acknowledgment by the deceased. The theory of an account stated does not stand without any evidence of the specified account. This claim of promise from Tallas creates no legal remedy in case of failure to perform. Prior events that occur before the promise are of no consideration, and their legality is not questionable. The trial court found that the services rendered by Dementas to Tallas were not rendered with the expectation of being compensated, but were performed
  3. Dementas states his claims based on the “account stated,” an agreement between parties who have previously transacted through monetary terms. The court concludes that there were no monetary accounts stated at the time of executing all necessary documents and therefore no dues to be payable between Dementas and Tallas or liquidated debts due from Tallas to Dementas. This eliminates the eligibility to enforce a promise by Tallas to pay Dementas.


Payment for services rendered under free will and friendship is not considered as a legal obligation unless if stated before the service. Dementas failed to recover claims for the stated account due to lack of sufficient consideration.


Works Cited

“Dementas v. Estate of Tallas.” N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

“Global Law And Regulation.” N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

“Geringer v. Wildhorn Ranch, Inc.” N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

“Colorado Premises Liability Act.”Recreation Law. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.



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