November 23, 2017

Archives for January 14, 2013

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/11/13

On Friday, January 11, 2013, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and seven unpublished opinions.

Floyd v. Ploughe

Poddar v. United States Trustee

Rueb v. Zavaras

Penrod v. Quick

Zuniga-Espinoza v. Holder

Romero v. Ploughe

United States v. Malone

No case summaries are provided for unpublished opinions.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

Coworking: A New Means For Startup Real Estate

Joel Jacobson_pictureWhen deciding on commercial real estate, new entrepreneurs and solo attorneys should consider coworking as a viable real estate model. Coworking presents the opportunity for individuals from diverse fields to work daily or monthly in a shared, commercial environment at a reasonable price despite being employed by different industries or companies. Unlike some traditional commercial arrangements, one need not commit to a term of several years. Lawyers should know that coworking is an exciting and attractive real estate arrangement that brings together quality, low cost, and flexible exit options. This is a trend on the rise in Colorado uniting individuals in small businesses.

Recently, I began spending time at one such space in Denver – Creative Density.  This space is not only populated by technology entrepreneurs and free-lance website developers, but also attorneys and writers. At its core, coworking is not only about shared office space, but also about fostering a collaborative community. The less experienced and boot-strapped entrepreneurial client may be best advised to consider real estate that takes into account shared community, price sensitivity, and flexibility surrounding lease terms in the event that the business does not succeed. When asked why attorneys should care about coworking, the owner of Creative Density, Craig Baute said, “When advising clients on starting a business, coworking is an excellent way for them to reduce risk, expenses, and grow their network and skill set. Since it is a flexible option it grows with them and starts at a much lower rate compared to other office solutions for small businesses.”

Further, attorneys starting their own solo practice should consider this type of real estate arrangement for themselves if concerned about location, price-point, or future growth. Coworking is a flexible option that can quickly respond to new law practice dynamics and aid client development along the way. Mr. Baute agrees, noting that “lawyers have been sharing offices for years to lower costs, but this is a way to get to work with people outside of the industry, expand your network, and learn new valuable skills.” Similarly, a recent piece from the Harvard Business Review highlighted an attorney successfully utilizing a coworking arrangement to develop his new company. The attorney founded a business offering a transparent way to disclose legal terms within the social media context and was quite satisfied with coworking because the arrangement presented “ultra-flexibility and low overhead.”

It is important for Colorado attorneys to be aware of the coworking real estate model when advising entrepreneurial clients or considering a solo practice. To understand a client’s real estate desires, a lawyer must assess the client’s financials, business savvy, and likelihood of success. Coworking presents an arrangement that is affordable, permits one to quickly build out a diverse social network, and is flexible. Such a model can potentially lead to new clients, new investors, or new resources to aid in completing work. These characteristics certainly increase the probability of business success. In sum, coworking should be considered because the arrangement hits the mark of affordable pricing and early exit options.

Joel Jacobson is a Contracts and Operations Associate with H.B. Stubbs Company, LCC – a national design and fabrication firm headquartered near Detroit, MI for exhibits displayed by technology and automotive companies. He focuses on contracts, employment law, and a variety of non-legal business issues. Joel serves on the Executive Council of the Denver Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and has an interest in topics impacting start-up companies in the Denver entrepreneurial community. He can be reached by email at jmjacobson1@gmail.com or on Twitter @J_m_Jacobson.

The opinions and views expressed by Featured Bloggers on CBA-CLE Legal Connection do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of the Colorado Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, or CBA-CLE, and should not be construed as such.

Tenth Circuit: National Park Service Did Not Violate NEPA By Excluding Wolf Introduction For Elk Management in RMNP

The Tenth Circuit published its opinion in WildEarth Guardians v. National Park Service on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

WildEarth Guardians (WildEarth) filed suit in federal district court challenging the National Park Service’s (NPS) elk and vegetation management plan and the related final environmental impact statement for Rocky Mountain National Park. WildEarth alleged the NPS violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to include the reintroduction of a naturally reproducing wolf population as one of the alternatives considered in the environmental impact statement. WildEarth also alleged the agency’s proposal to allow volunteers to assist the agency in reducing the elk population violated the Rocky Mountain National Park Enabling Act (RMNP Act).

The Tenth Circuit held that the NPS did meet NEPA’s and the APA’s requirements. The NPS discussed its reasons for rejecting the natural wolf alternative and “drew a rational connection between these reasons and its conclusion by examining the data in the record, consulting experts at its March 2005 meeting on wolf reintroduction, and repeatedly explaining why it excluded the natural wolf alternative from its EIS.”

The court also held that while the RMNP Act prohibits hunting in RMNP, allowing non-NPS personnel to shoot elk did not violate that prohibition as culling is not hunting. The court affirmed the district court.

Tenth Circuit: Environmental Group Plaintiffs Had Standing to Challenge Oil and Gas Leases But Claims Not Ripe

The Tenth Circuit published its opinion in Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. Palma on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.

Kirkwood Oil and Gas, LLC owned 39 oil and gas leases in Southern Utah that in the 1980s it applied to convert to combined hydrocarbon leases. Such leases would allow Kirkwood to extract oil from tar sands. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) never accepted or rejected Kirkwood’s applications. Between 2006 and 2008, BLM and the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) issued several decisions declaring that the underlying oil and gas leases were “suspended” pending review of the conversion applications. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and several other environmental groups (SUWA) alleged BLM and IBLA violated the Mineral Leasing Act and other federal laws by retroactively deeming the 39 Kirkwood leases to be suspended, thereby avoiding expiration of the leases according to their terms. The district court held SUWA did not have standing to bring its claims and dismissed the suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

The Tenth Circuit discussed the affidavits SUWA submitted to establish injury in fact and held that the district court “misapplied the law when it rejected SUWA’s standing on the basis that the affidavits failed to show its members have visited each of the leases at issue. Neither our court nor the Supreme Court has ever required an environmental plaintiff to show it has traversed each bit of land that will be affected by a challenged agency action.” The court also held that the district court had erred in holding SUWA failed to show a concrete injury sufficient to support standing. “A plaintiff who has repeatedly visited a particular site, has imminent plans to do so again, and whose interests are harmed by a defendant’s conduct has suffered injury in fact that is concrete and particularized.”

The court found that while SUWA was a proper party to challenge the BLM’s decision, its claims were not yet ripe. The challenged decisions were interim decisions, not final. The BLM had not made a decision regarding converting to combined hydrocarbon leases and it appeared unlikely Kirkwood would engage in any oil or gas development until that decision was made. Thus, any harm to SUWA’s members was not imminent or certain. The court remanded to the district court for dismissal without prejudice.

Colorado Supreme Court: Announcement Sheet, 1/14/13

The Colorado Supreme Court issued one published opinion on Monday, January 14, 2013.

People v. LaRosa

The summary for this case is forthcoming, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.