September 2, 2014

Judge Feldman to Retire from the Arapahoe County Court Bench

The Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet on Monday, December 19, 2011, at the Arapahoe County Courthouse (7325 S. Potomac St., Centennial, CO 80112) to interview and select nominees for appointment by Governor Hickenlooper to the office of County Judge for Arapahoe County. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of the Honorable Ethan D. Feldman on December 31, 2011.

Judge Feldman received his law degree from the University of Denver in 1974. From 1974 to 1980 he served as Deputy District Attorney, and later as Chief Deputy District Attorney in the Eighteenth Judicial District. He was in private practice and served as part-time Municipal Judge from 1980 until he was appointed to the Arapahoe County Court in 1992.

Eligible applicants for appointment to fill the vacancy must be qualified electors of Arapahoe County and must be admitted to the practice of law in Colorado. Applications must be received by Friday, December 2. The appointed county court judge will serve an initial provisional term of two years before facing a retention election. Retained judges serve four-year terms.

Further information about applying for the vacancy is available from the Colorado Judicial Branch.

Want Change? Transformation 101 (Part 3)

Editor’s Note: This is the final article in a three part series of job search and career transition articles. Part one and part two are also online.

“Self-awareness is the gentle motivator for change,” a friend of mine used to say.

Maybe so, but who’s got time for that? Take time for “Know thyself”? Sorry, I’ve got something going on that night.

Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Good advice, which most of us don’t follow. But self-awareness isn’t optional when we’re after our dreams. Which is why, once we decide to set our dreams free from where we’ve been hiding them, it’s all about us, all the time.

No, that’s not an accusation from a relationship gone bad. It’s what happens when we dare to answer inspiration’s call to create change in our lives. The bigger the change we want, the more we can’t just change things. Big change means we have to change ourselves as well. And that’s not going to happen without a big dose of self awareness. Our unexamined life is about to become examined. Big time.

Self-awareness goes digging, rooting out those pockets of resistance. It tells us when we’re trying to get the new by using the old, when we’re believing one thing while trying to do another, when we’re trying to get there by being reasonable. And lots more. Gotta have it.

There are lots of paths to self-awareness. Choose one. And forget the shortcuts – there aren’t any. And besides, this is too important.

Personal transformation is not just a good idea for the enlightened, consciousness-raising few – it’s essential to achieving every person’s Big Idea. We cannot achieve the change we want, cannot create the lives or the world we want, without first changing ourselves.

We aren’t prepared for this. We think we can just shift what we’ve always been and done – what we’ve believed, what we’ve known, how we’ve made decisions and how we’ve acted, all our customary tools and habits – to our new project.

We’re wrong. We and the new thing we want are created together, or not at all.

Kevin Rhodes left a successful 20+ years career in private practice to pursue a creative dream. He has led two workshops for the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. His next one, scheduled for January 2012, is called Work With Passion: Find Your Fire and Fuel It!

Mentoring Program to Kick Off 2012 With Revamped Curriculum

The Denver Bar Association is now accepting applications for both mentors and mentees for the 2012 Mentoring Program. This year the program will be part of a pilot project that is a cooperative effort by the Colorado Bar Association and the Chief Justice Commission on the Legal Profession. For the DBA’s mentoring program to qualify as a pilot program, we have altered it to mirror the proposed program.

We encourage all DBA members who are interested to consider becoming a mentor or participating in the program as a mentee. Our goal for the upcoming year is to have 100 pairs for the program. The following is a brief description of the program.

Click here for additional information or to apply. Applications are being accepted through November 30, 2011.

Objectives: To promote pride in the profession; excellence in service; and strong relationships with the bar, courts, clients, and the public, through teaching the core values and ideals of the legal profession and the best practices for meeting those ideals.

Qualifications:  To qualify as a mentee in the program, you are not required to be a member of the DBA, but you must be in your first three years of practice following admission to practice law in Colorado, or within your first year of practice in Colorado if you have been in practice three or more years in another jurisdiction. Mentees can petition for inclusion in the program if they do not fit into either of these two categories.

Curricula: The 12-month Mentoring Plan curricula is developed by the mentee and mentor, but must cover certain subject areas, and include an initial planning meeting between the mentee and mentor;  personal and professional development; the Colorado bar and legal community; history and importance of the legal profession; and professionalism and civility. A typical Mentoring Plan involves monthly in-person meetings between the mentee and mentor, which last one to two hours.  The Mentoring Plan can be developed by the mentee and mentor to best suit their schedules and needs.

Benefits: Each mentee and mentor will receive 15 free CLE credits, including two ethics credits, on successful completion of the program (application for CLE credit is pending). The program has components that include group activities, but an emphasis is placed on the one-on-one professional relationship between the experienced lawyer and the new lawyer, because this is one of the best ways to pass on the values, ideals, and best practices of the profession.

Mentors Have Much to Gain from this Role. They have the chance to assist younger attorneys in developing important skills. Lawyers who have been mentored are more likely to stay in the practice than those who are not. The development of these close bonds also helps further the practice of law.

Mentees Can Take Control of Their Career Development. Sometimes new hires may expect the firm to be responsible for their professional development, because many firms today offer resources such as orientation, in-house CLEs, trial colleges, marketing development, retreats, and mentoring programs. However, your future success will in part be dependent on your ability to make connections with those around you and gain their trust and respect. It simply makes good sense to use these offerings to your advantage. Twenty years down the road you may be able to attribute your success, in part, to assistance you received early on from another professional.

The 2012–13 chairs of the DBA Mentoring Program are Melissa Ogburn and Craig Joyce. We will have a kick-off reception for the 2012 mentoring program on January 5, 2012. We look forward to DBA members’ participation in this very important program.

Melissa Nicoletti is the Director of Sections and Committees for the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations.

The Docket eFile brings features from your favorite Denver Bar Association publication to you digitally. When you see the logo, you’re reading an article from The Docket. You’ll also still be able to read the full issue online at denbar.org/docket.

Colorado Courts Celebrate National Adoption Day

National Adoption Day will be celebrated in many of Colorado’s Judicial Districts between Thursday, November 17 and Monday, November 21, 2011, with judges and magistrates throughout Colorado finalizing the adoption of more than 100 foster children into permanent families. Colorado is currently home to 365 children waiting for permanent families.

“Adoption Day is always a special day in Colorado’s courts,” said Chief Justice Michael L. Bender. “I am pleased to see many of our courts taking the opportunity to recognize National Adoption Day on a local level. However, this is but one day out of the year and we must remain focused on the fact that there are still many children in need of good homes.”

Adoption Day events in Colorado are being coordinated through the courts, state and local human services departments, as well as other local and state child agencies and advocacy groups.

Here’s a rundown of Adoption Day activities going on around Colorado:

  • First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin counties)
  • Saturday, November 19, 2011, from 9:00 to 11:00 am at the Jefferson County Combined Court (100 Jefferson Parkway, Golden, CO 80401).
  • District Court Judges Margie Enquist, Tamara Russell and Ann Meinster will finalize 18 adoptions for 12 families.  Colorado Supreme Court Justice-designate Brian Boatright (currently a First Judicial District Court Judge) will be in attendance. For more information contact Kris Kinzli at (303) 271-4601 or Mallory Hyatt at (303) 271-4389 with Jefferson County Human Services.
  • Second Judicial District (Denver County)
  • Friday, November 18, 2011, from 8:45 am to noon at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse (520 W. Colfax, Denver, CO 80204).
  • Denver Juvenile Court Judges Donna Schmalberger and D. Brett Woods will join Juvenile Magistrates Howard Bartlett and Melanie Gilbert, along with Denver District Court Judges Morris Hoffman and Herbert Stern to unite 51 children with 33 families. For more information contact Barbara Bosley, Family Court Facilitator, Denver Juvenile Court, (720) 337-0584.  This is the seventh annual celebration of National Adoption Day in Denver.
  • Speakers at the event will include Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Chief Judge Karen Ashby (Denver Juvenile Court), Penny May (Denver Department of Human Services), and Marne Gulley (adoptive parent).
  • Speakers will make their remarks in the Cisneros Jury Assembly Room.  Adoption proceedings will take place from 10:00 am to noon in courtrooms 2A, 2B, 2C, 2E, 2F and 2H. Judge Ashby has entered an order allowing Expanded Media Coverage; cameras are welcome.
  • Third Judicial District (Huerfano and Las Animas counties)
  • While no adoption proceedings are scheduled, District Court Judge Leslie Gerbracht reports that the Court will host a reception on Monday, November 21, 2011, at 2:30 pm for families who have adopted in the past. The reception will be held in the District Court Courtroom at the Las Animas County Courthouse (200 E. 1st St., Trinidad, CO 81082). For more information contact Arlene Lopez, DHS Child Protection Unit Supervisor, at (719) 846-2276.
  • Fifth Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties)
  • On Friday, November 18, 2011, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm, District Court Judge Russell Granger will preside over the adoption of five children into four families. The proceedings will take place at the Clear Creek County Courthouse (405 Argentine, Georgetown, CO 80444). For more information contact Kimberlee Hill, Clerk of Court, at (303) 679-4220.
  • Tenth Judicial District (Pueblo County)
  • On Friday, November 18, 2011, beginning at 9:30 am in Division B, District Court Judge Larry Schwartz will preside over the adoption docket. Nine children are slated to be adopted into seven families. For more information contact Karen Hiraki, Pueblo Department of Human Services, at (719) 583-4716.
  • Eleventh Judicial District (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont and Park counties)
  • On Thursday, November 17, 2011, Chief District Court Judge Charles Barton will finalize the adoptions of five children into four families. The adoption proceedings will begin at 1:30 pm at the Fremont County Justice Center (136 Justice Center Road, Canon City, CO 81212). For more information contact Nancy Myers, Fremont County DHS, at (719) 269-2092.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield counties)
  • On Saturday, November 19, 2011, from 9 am to noon, 23 children will be united with permanent families. The proceedings will take place at the Adams County Justice Center (1100 Judicial Center Drive, Brighton, CO 80601). District Court Judges Mark Warner and Francis Wasserman will join Magistrates Greg Beacom and Peter Stapp in presiding over the docket. For more information contact Jennifer Mendoza, Juvenile Court Programs Coordinator, at (303) 654-3230.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District (Weld County)
  • On Friday, November 18, 2011, from 1 to 5 pm, District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow will preside over 11 adoptions and Magistrate Randall Lococo will preside over one adoption. Adoption proceedings will take place at the Weld County Courthouse (901 9th Ave. Greeley, CO 80631). For more information call Judge Kopcow’s chambers at (970) 351-7300 ext. 5490.
  • Twenty-first Judicial District (Mesa County)
  • On Friday, November 18, 2011, from 8 am to 1:30 pm, District Court Judge Valerie Robison will preside over an adoption docket bringing together eight children with seven families.  The adoptions will take place at the Mesa County Justice Center (125 N. Spruce Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501). For more information contact Karen Martsolf, Mesa County DHS, at (970) 256-2453.

National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the 107,000 children in foster care across the country waiting to find permanent, loving families. Since its inception, National Adoption Day has made the dreams of thousands of children come true through the cooperative work of courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies, and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care.

National Adoption Day is celebrated every year in November. In 2006, for the first time, National Adoption Day was celebrated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. That year, more than 250 events were held throughout the country to finalize the adoptions of more than 3,300 children in foster care, and to celebrate all families who adopt. Since 2000, more than 35,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Week of November 13, 2011 (No Published Opinions)

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and forty-five unpublished opinions for the week of November 13, 2011.

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

Tenth Circuit: Statute Prohibiting Unsafe Driving Distance Not Unconstitutionally Vague as Applied to Defendant

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Hunter on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. An officer pulled over the vehicle in which Petitioner was traveling for following too closely to the vehicle in front of it. After several minutes of questioning, the officer asked if he could search the car. The search produced a large amount of drugs and a weapon. Petitioner filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized from the car, which was denied, and he was sentenced to sixty months’ imprisonment. Petitioner “argues the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress on the ground that (1) the Kansas statute prohibiting a motorist from following ‘another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent’ is unconstitutionally vague as applied to him; (2) [the officer] lacked reasonable suspicion to stop [the] vehicle for following too closely; (3) the detention of [Petitioner] was impermissibly prolonged and not reasonably related to the justification for the stop; and (4) [the driver] did not have authority, apparent or otherwise, to give consent to search the car.”

The Court, however, disagreed. The Court stated that imprecision in statutes “build in needed flexibility while incorporating a comprehensible, normative standard easily understood by the ordinary driver, and giving fair warning as to what conduct on his or her part is prohibited. Further, references in these statutes to considerations such as speed, traffic and road conditions, channel enforcement.” As such, the statute was not unconstitutionally vague as applied to Petitioner. Additionally, the officer’s use of the two-second rule of thumb and determination that the “car was following a semi at about a one-second interval on an interstate highway, under normal traffic and road conditions, together with his ten to fifteen second observations, incorporated ‘due regard’ for the statutory factors and provided the minimal level of objective justification required for reasonable suspicion that the car was violating” the statute and could be stopped.

The Court also agreed with the district court that there is no evidence that the stop was prolonged beyond what was necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop. Lastly, the Court was able to “easily conclude that the district court did not err in determining that the encounter between [the officer and Petitioner] had become a consensual one by the time [the officer] searched the car . . . .”

Colorado Adopts the Uniform Bar Examination

On Thursday, November 17, 2011, the Board of Law Examiners announced that the state has officially adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), effective immediately. As we reported last week, the Colorado Supreme Court recently amended C.R.C.P. Chapter 18, Rules Governing Admission to the Bar, to allow the transfer of a bar exam score achieved in a jurisdiction which has also adopted the UBE.

To be able to transfer a UBE score to Colorado without having to take the Colorado Bar Examination, the person wishing to transfer must have achieved a total score of at least 276 on the UBE taken in the other jurisdiction. Conversely, people obtaining a UBE score in Colorado may transfer that score to another UBE jurisdiction, provided their UBE score meets the minimum passing bar exam score in that other jurisdiction. Colorado will administer the UBE effective with the February 2012 bar examination.

Any questions about the change can be directed to the Board of Law Examiners at (303) 866-6626 or information@coexam.state.co.us.

[UPDATED] Piloting Change: A Brief Overview of the Colorado Civil Access Pilot Project Rules

Editor’s Note: CBA-CLE will be holding a program next month highlighting the Civil Access Pilot Project, which will help practitioners understand the practical information they need to know once the rules go into effect. The rules have been changed significantly, and failing to navigate them correctly can be detrimental to clients and cases. Registration information is provided below.

By Jessica L. Fuller and Tamara F. Goodlette

In Chief Justice Directive 11-02, the Colorado Supreme Court approved a new set of civil procedure rules known as the Colorado Civil Access Pilot Project. The goals of the Pilot Project are to increase access to the courts and reduce the expense of civil litigation by identifying and narrowing disputed issues at the earliest stage of litigation; requiring ongoing active case management by a single judge; and keeping litigation costs proportionate to the issues being litigated through controlled discovery and other means.

The Pilot Project makes significant changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure for certain types of business cases in specified judicial districts, which will dramatically affect the way civil cases are litigated. Below is a brief overview of the highlights of the Pilot Project Rules (PPRs).

Not all of the PPRs are addressed below and they may continue to be amended through 2011. To review the full set of the most recent version of the PPRs, visit www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Supreme_Court/Directives and click on Chief Justice Directive 11-02, “Civil Litigation in Business Actions.”[1]

Introduction to the Pilot Project

When do the PPRs take effect?

  • The PPRs are effective Jan. 1 for certain types of cases filed on or after that date, and will be in effect for applicable cases filed in the next two years.

What happens at the conclusion of the two years?

  • During the two-year period when the PPRs are in effect, IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, will collect data to measure the effects of the procedural changes. The study results will be used to determine whether to make future amendments to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.

Where do the Pilot Project Rules apply?

  • For designated cases in the First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin counties), Second Judicial District (Denver County), Seventeenth Judicial District (Adams County), and the Eighteenth Judicial District (Arapahoe County).

What kinds of cases are governed by the PPRs?

  • “Inclusion in the pilot project will be determined based on the contents of the complaint at the commencement of the action,” according to PPR 1.1.
  • The PPRs will apply to cases that are predominately “business actions” as defined in Amended Appendix A of CJD 11-02. Amended Appendix A lists various types of “included actions” and “excluded actions.” Litigators in the specified judicial districts should refer to Amended Appendix A to determine whether a case is subject to the PPRs.

Do the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure still apply?

  • Yes. The PPRs are not a complete set of rules and the C.R.C.P. will continue to govern, except where there is an inconsistency, in which case the PPRs will control. (See PPR 1.2.)

Are the PPRs optional?

  • No. In fact, the court may impose sanctions for any failure to timely or completely comply with the PPRs. (See PPR 11.1.)
Overview of Central Provisions of the Pilot Project Rules

Proportionality is the Buzz Word

  • All aspects of the case shall be addressed by the court and the parties to assure the process and costs are proportionate to the needs of the case. The proportionality factors include the “amount in controversy, and complexity and importance of the issues at stake in the litigation. …This proportionality rule shall shape the process of the case in order to achieve a just, timely, efficient, and cost effective determination of all actions.” (See PPR 1.3.)

Notice Pleading Plus

  • “The party that bears the burden of proof with respect to any claim or affirmative defense should plead all material facts that are known to that party,” including “any known monetary damages.” (See PPR 2.2.)
  • General denials of any statement of fact are not permitted. (See PPR 2.3.)

Defendants Must Answer, and Motions to Dismiss Do Not Stay the Case

  • Even if you elect to file a motion to dismiss, you also must file an answer. (See PPR 4.1.)
  • Unless otherwise prohibited by statute, the filing of a motion to dismiss will not delay any pleading, disclosure, or case management deadlines. (Id.)

After You Plead, Get Ready to Disclose

  • No later than 21 days after service of a pleading making a claim for relief or defending against a claim for relief, the pleading party must file its initial disclosures with the court. (See PPR 3.1, 3.3.)

Meet, Confer, and Preserve

  • Within 14 days after the filing of an answer, the parties must meet and confer regarding the “reasonable preservation of all relevant documents and things, including any electronically stored information.” (See PPR 6.1.)

Do Not Expect Extensions or Continuances

  • Motions for extensions of time or continuances (including motions to change the trial date) are strongly disfavored and will be denied on receipt, absent extraordinary circumstances. (See PPR 1.4, 8.5.)
  • Stipulated motions to continue or extend deadlines are not binding on the court and parties should assume the court will deny such motions. (See PPR 1.4.)

Do Expect Active Case Management

  • One judge will be assigned to the case for all purposes, and “absent unavoidable or extraordinary circumstances,” that judge will remain assigned to the case through its final resolution. (See PPR 5.1.)
  • No later than 49 days after the responsive pleadings are filed, the judge shall hold an initial case management conference, which each party’s lead trial counsel is required to attend. (See PPR 7.1.)
  • The court will provide ongoing, active case management, and the parties may contact the court for prompt conferences to clarify or modify any court order or resolve any disputed pretrial matter. (See PPR 8.1, 8.2.)

Factual and Expert Discovery Will Be Limited

  • Discovery will be limited, based on the proportionality factors and “matters that would enable a party to prove or disprove a claim or defense or to impeach a witness.” (See PPR 9.1.)
  • Absent extraordinary circumstances, only one expert witness per side may submit a report and testify in any given specialty or with respect to any given issue. (See PPR 10.2.)
  • An expert’s testimony will be limited to matters disclosed in reasonable detail in the report. (See PPR 10.1(b).)
  • Along with the expert’s report, a party also must produce its expert’s files at the time the witness is disclosed. (See PPR 10.1(a), (c), App. C (defining scope of production and noting parties do not have to produce their expert’s draft reports).)
  • There will be no depositions or other discovery of experts. (See PPR 10.1(d).)

Key Deadlines

  • Twenty-one days after service of the complaint, plaintiff files initial disclosures. (See PPR 3.1.)
  • Twenty-one days after plaintiff’s initial disclosures are filed, defendant files a responsive pleading, which must include an answer. (See PPR 3.2, 4.1.)
  • Fourteen days after defendant’s responsive pleading is filed, the parties meet and confer regarding preservation of documents and electronically stored information. (See PPR 6.1.)
  • Twenty-one days after service of defendant’s responsive pleading, defendant files initial disclosures. (See PPR 3.3.)
  • Seven days before the case management conference, parties file a joint case management report in the form set forth in Appendix B of CJD 11.2. (See PPR 7.1, App. B.)
  • No later than 49 days after defendant’s responsive pleading is filed, the case management conference is held, and lead counsel must attend. (See PPR 7.1.)

Generally, within 91 days of service of the complaint, the answer, any motions to dismiss, all disclosures, and the joint case management report will be filed and the case management conference will have occurred.

The PPRs are an attempt to improve the management of the civil litigation process and increase access to our judicial system by controlling the discovery process and lessening the expense of litigation. We urge litigators in the Denver area to support the Pilot Project and share their feedback during the two-year pilot period with IAALS.

Notes

[1] The PPRs are not to be confused with the amendments to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure for calculating trial and appellate deadlines that will apply in all cases in all judicial districts in the state. Most of these deadline amendments become effective Jan. 1, and others become effective July 1. Go to http://bit.ly/CPRCChanges for a copy of the amended rules.

Jessica Fuller and Tamara Goodlette are litigation associates at Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP and can be reached at (303) 623-9000 or jfuller@rothgerber.com and tgoodlette@rothgerber.com.

The Docket eFile brings features from your favorite Denver Bar Association publication to you digitally. When you see the logo, you’re reading an article from The Docket. You’ll also still be able to read the full issue online at denbar.org/docket.

CLE Program: The Civil Access Pilot Project – New Rules of Civil Procedure for Cases in 5 Districts

This CLE presentation will take place on Friday, December 2. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live programs or webcasts, the programs will also be available as a homestudy in three formats: video on-demand, mp3 download, and audio CD recordings.