July 24, 2014

Efficiency Highlighted by Justice Bender in State of the Judiciary Address

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Bender delivered his first State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the Colorado General Assembly on Friday. During the speech, Bender lauded the accomplishments of the judiciary over the last year and acknowledging the challenges it continues to face in the new year.

Law Week Colorado reports that, while affirming the diminishing resources available to the courts due to the economic downturn, Bender stressed Colorado courts’ ability to strengthen their operations by increasing efficiency.

Access to justice is another major concern for Bender, who took over as Chief Justice just six weeks ago; both individuals and businesses are finding increased difficulty in utilizing the civil justice system.  Additionally, while discovery costs are often prohibitive and too few cases actually make it to trial as a result, the proposed Civil Access Pilot Project would help alleviate many of these problems.

Bender plans to visit all twenty-two judicial districts in the state to get feedback and solicit advice in an ongoing effort to keep up employee morale at the judicial branch.

Text of Justice Benders full remarks can be found here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Week of January 9, 2011 (No Published Opinions)

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and 50 unpublished opinions for the week of January 9, 2011.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. Case announcements are available here.

Tenth Circuit: Opinions, 1/14/11

The Tenth Circuit on Friday issued no published opinions and no unpublished opinions.

2010 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary Finds Increased Caseloads and Continuing Issues for 2011

As reported by Law Week Colorado, the 2010 year-end report on the federal judiciary found an overall increase in caseloads in all courts except the Courts of Appeals, which saw a slight decrease from the previous year. Chief Justice Roberts wrote an overview of the issues facing the judiciary and notes a new Strategic Plan to tackle the issues moving forward, which was approved at last year’s Judicial Conference.

The plan identifies seven long-term issues that are critical to the future operation of the federal courts. The Judiciary’s central objective is, of course, to do justice according to law in every case. Accomplishing that objective requires, however, a determined focus on subsidiary issues, including managing the courts’ public resources, maintaining a skilled workforce of judges and support staff, deploying new technologies that enable the courts to do more with less, and developing rules and procedures that provide litigants with reasonable and economical access to the judicial process. It also requires focus on issues that extend beyond the courthouse, such as fostering positive relations with the coordinate branches of government and enhancing the public’s understanding of the role of the courts.

Justice Roberts notes that there are some immediate obstacles to achieving the judiciary’s goals, including budgetary constraints due to the economic downturn and the problem of judicial vacancies in already overworked districts.

The report also found that:

  • federal bankruptcy petitions continued to climb at a rate of 14%, the highest of all federal courts filings.
  • the U.S. Supreme Court case filings increased 5.4%, and experienced a 7% increase in its forma pauperis docket.
  • only the Federal Courts of Appeals experienced a decrease, with 3% less filings in 2010.
  • both criminal and civil filings in U.S. District Courts each increased by 2%.

The full report and Justice Roberts’ overview can be found here.

Tenth Circuit: Opinions, 1/13/11

The Tenth Circuit on Thursday issued no published opinions and five unpublished opinions.

Unpublished

United States v. Garza

Robinson v. BNSF Railway Co.

Logan v. Cox Communications Kansas, LLC

Get, LLC v. City of Blackwell

Wood v. Milyard

DORA to Hold Rulemaking Hearing Concerning Rules of Procedure for Independent Ethics Commission

The Judicial Branch has submitted amendments to the procedural rules of the Independent Ethics Commission. The changes are proposed in order to simplify and clarify the Commission’s procedures regarding complaints and regarding the process for obtaining advice from the Commission.

Among other changes, the proposed rules:

  • clarify what information must be contained in a complaint
  • limit the grounds upon which a complaint may be dismissed
  • provide that a person who receives an Advisory Opinion on a particular matter may rely on that opinion as a defense in any complaint proceeding
  • add a section regarding the Commission’s investigation process
  • eliminate the requirement for a prehearing statement

Text of the proposed rule changes can be downloaded here. The current Commission procedural rules can be found here.

A hearing on these amendments to the Independent Ethics Commission Rules of Procedure is set for Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 9:00am at 101 West Colfax Ave., 5th floor, Columbine Room, Denver, CO 80202. Further information about the hearing can be found here.

For more information about the amendments, contact Jane T. Feldman at (303) 837-2339.

Real Estate Commission Releases New Website for Approved 2011 Contract Forms

The DORA Division of Real Estate’s Commission has changed the website where approved real estate contract forms are posted. Pursuant to Commission Rule F-7, real estate brokers are required to use Commission-approved forms in appropriate transactions or circumstances in which a relevant form is applicable.

The new website can be found here.

Currently, all forms are available in Adobe Acrobat format. Select forms are available in a writeable format; all forms will be available in the writeable format by February 28, 2011.

The 2010 contract forms can still be accessed in the archives.

Tenth Circuit: Opinions, 1/12/11

The Tenth Circuit on Wednesday issued two published opinions and eight unpublished opinions.

Published

In McClendon v. City of Albuquerque, the Court dismissed Petitioners’ appeal. The Court determined that an order withdrawing approval of a class action settlement agreement does not qualify as a “final decision” subject to appeal. The Court equated such an action to an order granting new trial or relief from a judgment. “Such an order simply presses the reset button, vacates any prior final decision, and marks the case for renewed litigation.”

In Chavez v. City of Albuquerque, the Court affirmed the district court’s decision in part and reversed in part. Petitioners were former employees of the City and alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Court determined that “buy-back of unused vacation time is not part of the FLSA regular rate; buy-back of unused sick time is part of the FLSA regular rate; paid time off does not count towards the FLSA overtime threshold; when calculating the hourly regular rate, weekly compensation is to be divided by total hours worked, rather than an employee’s regular workweek.”

Unpublished

Krylov v. Holder, Jr.

Martinez v. Milyard

Twitty v. Daniels

McGinnis v. State of Wyoming

Williams v. Corrections Corp. of America, Inc.

Twitty v. Davis

Faragalla v. Douglas County School Dist.

United States v. Limon-Pena