May 22, 2018

Archives for April 13, 2012

Discounted Legal Services — Do You Really Want to Be the Daily Deal?

The number of internet-based “Deal of the Day” websites has multiplied exponentially in recent years—Groupon, Living Social, Eversave, and Get My Perks are only a small sample. Even more numerous than the discount sites are the types of goods and services that are available for purchase. You can get deals on sports tickets, gardening supplies, kids’ birthday party packages, spas, restaurants—practically everything you can think of. But what about legal services?

Advertising is key to a successful practice for most attorneys, and a chance to spread the word about a legal practice to the wide audience that services like Groupon reaches is hard to pass up. The question arises, however:

Is it ethical to discount legal services?

What types of legal services can be discounted? Is profit sharing ethical in an advertising context? How are fees handled if the discount is never redeemed?

On Monday, April 16, Amy DeVan and Ericka Englert of the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel will be in the CBA-CLE classroom to discuss the ethical implications of using Groupon or other daily deal websites to advertise legal services. Potentially implicated Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct will be discussed, including perspectives from other jurisdictions and implications for Colorado attorneys. Join us on Monday to hear answers to your questions about the ethical implications of daily deals.

CLE Program: Ethics of Daily Deals and “Groupon” Marketing

This CLE presentation will take place on Monday, April 16. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in two formats: video on-demand and mp3 download.

Application Process Open for Family Violence Justice Fund Grants from Colorado Judicial Branch

The Colorado Judicial Branch announced today it has opened the application process for Fiscal Year 2013 grants from the Family Violence Justice Fund, which funds programs that provide civil legal services to indigent Coloradans.

Application forms will be available Monday, April 16, 2012 at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Administration/Unit.cfm/Unit/fvjf and will be accepted only via email.

The program was established by the General Assembly in 1999 to help indigent victims of family violence obtain legal services at no cost to them.

Grants will be awarded based on a formula that considers factors including past participation in the program. For Fiscal Year 2013, $625,000 is available for grants.

Applications must be received by the State Court Administrator’s Office by Friday, May 25, 2012, to be considered for a grant. To be eligible, organizations must be non-profit and currently serving the legal needs of indigent victims of family violence.

Successful organizations must be prepared to provide full legal services, including but not limited to assistance with divorce, child custody, child support, and other related civil matters. Additional information regarding the fund and qualifications for organizations receiving grants may be found in section 14-4-107 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Applications will be accepted via email only at jessica.zender@judicial.state.co.us. Questions may be directed to Jessica Zender at the email address above or by calling (303) 861-1111.

HB 12-1317: Creation of Parks and Wildlife Commission to Replace Parks and Wildlife Board; Members to be Appointed by Governor

On February 23, 2012, Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg and Sen. Gail Schwartz introduced HB 12-1317 – Concerning the Creation of the Parks and Wildlife Commission to Replace the Parks and Wildlife Board in the Department of Natural Resources, and, In Connection Therewith, Describing the Composition and Terms of the Commission. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Senate Bill 11–208 combined the wildlife entities and parks and outdoor recreation entities and functions under the Department of Natural Resources. In so doing, the existing wildlife commission was merged with the existing board of parks and outdoor recreation to form the 16-member parks and wildlife board.

Effective July 1, 2012, the bill replaces the board of parks and outdoor recreation with the new parks and wildlife commission. The commission is comprised of 11 voting members and 2 nonvoting ex officio members (the executive director of the department and the commissioner of the department of agriculture). The voting members are appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate and must represent various geographical regions in the state and certain areas of interest or knowledge. Initial term lengths are staggered to reduce the impact to the board that results from member turnover. The commission is required to submit a five-year strategic plan to specified committees of reference. Components of the plan are specified. On March 23 the Appropriations Committee amended the bill and referred it to the house for consideration on 2nd Reading.

Summaries of other featured bills can be found here.

HB 12-1316: Modifying Bond Recovery Procedures for Defendants Who May Be in the Country Illegally

On February 22, 2012, Rep. Amy Stephens introduced HB 12-1316 – Concerning Bond Conditions when a United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Detainer is Lodged Against a Defendant. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Under current law, if there is probable cause to believe that a defendant is in the country illegally and he or she is charged with a felony or class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor, the investigating law enforcement agency shall notify the defendant’s bail bond agent. The bill requires notification to a person’s bail bond agent if there is a United States immigration and customs enforcement detainer lodged against the defendant; rather than based on probable cause to believe that a defendant is in the country illegally and a person is charged with a felony or a class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor.

Under current law, a bail bond agent is exempt from having his or her bond forfeited if the defendant is removed from the country, and a bail bond agent is not required to sign a waiver of understanding concerning such forfeiture. The bill requires a bail bond agent to execute a waiver that states he or she understands that if the defendant is removed from the country the bond is forfeited. The bill also requires the bond of the bail bond agent to be forfeited if the defendant is removed from the country.

If a law enforcement agency holding a defendant for a felony or class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor determines that a United States immigration and customs enforcement detainer is lodged against the defendant, the law enforcement agency shall notify the district attorney and any pretrial services agency of the defendant’s presumed immigration status. If the defendant posts bond, the law enforcement agency shall notify the district attorney of the posting of the bond prior to notifying immigration and customs enforcement that the defendant is eligible for release to their custody.

Summaries of other featured bills can be found here.

HB 12-1315: Reorganizing the Governor’s Energy Office and Making Several Changes to its Policies

On February 22, 2012, Rep. Jon Becker and Sen. Pat Steadman introduced HB 12-1315 – Concerning the Reorganization of the Governor’s Energy Office, and, In Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill changes the name of the Governor’s Energy Office to the Colorado Office of Energy Development. As part of the reorganization of the office, the bill changes the mission of the office to:

  • Promoting all Colorado energy;
  • Promoting economic development in Colorado through energy-market advances that create jobs;
  • Encouraging Colorado-based clean and innovative energy solutions that include traditional and renewable energy sources;
  • Increasing energy security;
  • Lowering long-term consumer costs; and
  • Protecting the environment.

The bill aligns the duties of the office with the new mission of the office. The bill requires the office to obtain legislative approval prior to changing office policies related to its strategic plan, the definition of “renewable energy,” energy transmission, or any policy that could negatively impact the use of traditional energy sources.

The bill creates the renewable energy fund and specifies that the fund be used by the office to work with communities, utilities, private and public organizations, and individuals to promote:

  • The renewable energy standard;
  • Renewable energy such as wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectricity, thermal gasification, and geothermal;
  • Energy efficiency technologies;
  • Cleaner technologies by utilizing traditional Colorado-sourced energy; and
  • New energy technologies.

The bill changes the name of the Clean Energy Fund to the Innovative Energy Fund, aligns the purposes of that fund with the new mission of the office, limits the expenditures from the fund for those projects related to the severance of minerals subject to taxation under state law, and transfers moneys to the innovative energy fund from the perpetual base account of the severance tax trust fund.The bill repeals:

  • The wind for schools grant program;
  • The Colorado clean energy development authority; and
  • The green truck grant program.

The bill ends the office’s role as a consultant to the ReEnergize Colorado program and the geothermal resource leasing fund.

The bill changes the name of the Clean Energy Improvement Debt Reserve Fund to the Energy Improvement Debt Reserve Fund and includes improvements to the efficiency of traditional energy fixtures as part of the definition of “renewable energy improvement” for purposes of local improvement districts.

The bill ends the authority of the office to use up to 5% of the moneys in the Colorado office of energy development low-income energy assistance fund for planning, overseeing, and evaluating the program to improve the energy efficiency of low-income households.

Finally, the bill terminates the office on July 1, 2018, unless extended through the sunset review process. On March 28 the Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee amended the bill and sent it to the Appropriations Committee. On April 5, the Appropriations Committee approved the bill and referred it to the full House for consideration on 2nd Reading.

Since this summary, the bill passed a Second Reading in the House.

Summaries of other featured bills can be found here.

HB 12-1314: Creating Exception to Requirement that Anyone Who Owes Severance Tax on Oil and Gas Revenue Must File a Tax Return

On February 20, 2012, Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg introduced HB 12-1314 – Concerning an Exception to the Requirement to File an Oil and Gas Severance Tax Return for a Person Who Has Less Than a Certain Amount Withheld. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill creates an exception to the requirement that everyone subject to the severance tax on oil and gas must file a return with the department of revenue. This exception applies to any person who has less than $250 withheld by all unit operators and first purchasers in a taxable year.

Under current law, if any person fails to file a report related to the severance tax, the executive director of the department of revenue may estimate the amount of tax, interest, and penalties due and mail the estimate to the last-known address of the person. If, within 10 days of receiving the estimate, the person fails to file a correct report and payment, the estimate becomes the amount payable to the state. The bill prohibits the executive director from sending the estimate to a person who is not required to file a return pursuant to the bill. On March 21 the Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee amended the bill and sent it to the Appropriations Committee. The bill is scheduled to go before the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, April 10 at 7:30 a.m.

Since this summary, the bill was amended in the Appropriations Committee and referred to the House Committee of the Whole.

Summaries of other featured bills can be found here.

Governor Hickenlooper Announces Several Judicial Nominating Commission Appointments

On Thursday, April 12, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper announced several appointments to various Judicial Nominating Commissions. The appointments are to the Fourth, Ninth, Twelfth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commissions and the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.

Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts each have judicial district nominating commissions that select nominees for district and county judicial vacancies. Each district nominating commission is chaired by a justice of the Supreme Court, who is a non-voting member of the commission.

Commission members serve six-year terms. Non-lawyers, who are the majority of every nominating commission, are appointed by the governor. Lawyer members are appointed by joint action of the governor, attorney general, and chief justice.

The member appointed to the Fourth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017 is:

  • Kenneth Michael Valdez of Colorado Springs, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from El Paso County.

The members appointed to the Ninth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for terms expiring December 31, 2017 are:

  • Sharon Merlene Day of Meeker, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Rio Blanco County.
  • Anna Smith of Meeker, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Rio Blanco County.
  • Julie Goldstein of Basalt, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Pitkin County.

The member appointed to the Twelfth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017 is:

  • Kimberly A. Lookis of San Luis, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Costilla County.

The member appointed to the Fourteenth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017 is:

  • Kelly Lee Weimer of Granby, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Grand County.

The members appointed to the Fifteenth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for terms expiring December 31, 2017 are:

  • Staci Faye Bishop of Springfield, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Baca County.
  • Linda Rae Lusk of Springfield, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Baca County.
  • Christian Paul Tallman of Brandon, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Cheyenne County.

The member appointed to the Nineteenth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring November 30, 2013 is:

  • Donna Sapienza of Greeley, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Weld County.

The member appointed to the Twentieth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017 is:

  • Rex Thomas Moody of Longmont, to serve as a non-attorney and as an Unaffiliated from Boulder County.

The Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission recommends candidates to serve as judges for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. The chief justice of the Supreme Court chairs the commission and is a non-voting member. This commission includes one citizen admitted to practice law in Colorado and one citizen not admitted to practice law residing in each of the state’s seven congressional districts, and one additional citizen not admitted to practice law in Colorado. The members appointed for terms expiring December 31, 2017:

  • Ann Elizabeth Hendrickson of Broomfield, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Broomfield County.
  • Olivia Mendoza of Lakewood, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Jefferson County.

Click here to read the full announcement from the Governor’s Office.

Thirteen More Bills Signed Into Law This Week

Governor Hickenlooper has signed 124 bills into law in the 2012 legislative session, including thirteen bills that he signed on Thursday, April 12. A complete list of the bills he signed Thursday can be found here. Five of these bills are highlighted below.

  • SB 12-023Improve Eligible Persons Access To PACE Program
    • Concerning The Program Of All-Inclusive Care For The Elderly, And, In Connection Therewith, Addressing Enrollment Of Persons Who Are Eligible For The PACE Program And Addressing How The Pace Program Works With Integrative Initiatives Involving The Medicaid Population In Colorado.
  • SB 12-030Public Trustee & Foreclosure Sales
    • Concerning Administrative Matters Related To A Foreclosure Sale.
  • SB 12-033Child Fatality Reviews
    • Concerning Adding Near Fatalities To The Responsibilities Of The Department Of Human Services Child Fatality Review Team.
  • SB 12-062Voting By Military Personnel
    • Concerning Procedures That Facilitate Voting By Military Personnel.
  • HB 12-1299Lessee Can Claim Innovative Motor Vehicle Tax Credit
    • Concerning The Specification That A Motor Vehicle Lessee Is Entitled To Claim The Innovative Motor Vehicle Tax Credit.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2012 legislative decisions, click here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 4/12/12

On Thursday, April 12, 2012, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and two unpublished opinions.

Unpublished

Neal v. Hauf

Republic Bank, Inc. v. West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc.

No case summaries are provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.