The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado v. Colorado Public Utilities Commission on April 23, 2012.
CRS § 40-6-115(5)—“Commenced and Tried”—Remedy for Improper Venue is Transfer to Proper Venue.
The Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC) filed a petition for judicial review in Routt County District Court, seeking judicial review of a decision by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Pursuant to CRS § 40-6-115(5), such petitions must be commenced and tried in district court either in the county where the petitioning corporation has its principal office or place of business, or in Denver District Court. In this case, the Routt County District Court found that AGNC’s principal office or place of business was in Garfield County, not Routt County. The court ordered that AGNC be permitted to transfer the case to Garfield County or Denver District Court. AGNC chose Denver District Court.
PUC petitioned the Supreme Court, under C.A.R. 21, for a rule to show cause why the case should not be dismissed rather than transferred. The Court issued the rule to show cause, and now discharged the rule. The Court held that CRS § 40-6-115(5), which enumerates the counties where a petition for review of PUC actions shall be commenced and tried, sets a venue requirement. The requirement is procedural, not substantive. AGNC’s initial failure to file in a proper venue did not deprive the Routt County District Court of jurisdiction to grant a venue transfer motion. Instead, the statute allows the Routt County District Court to transfer this case to the Denver District Court.
Summary and full case available here.