September 17, 2014

HB 12-1244: Requiring the Department of Local Affairs to Develop an Inventory of Local Governments

On February 7, 2012, Rep. Ray Scott and Sen. Joyce Foster introduced HB 12-1244 – Concerning an Inventory of Local Governmental Entities Maintained by the Department of Local Affairs and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring the Inclusion of Certain Information in the Inventory. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill requires the department of local affairs to update its on-line inventory of local governmental entities with certain information, including information about local governmental entity agents authorized to receive notices of claims under the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act.”

Filing a notice of a claim arising under the act with a person listed as an agent in the inventory is deemed to satisfy requirements for filing such notice. Service to the most recently listed registered agent is deemed valid if the local governmental entity failed to timely update its registered agent information. The bill passed out of the House on February 28 and is assigned to the Local Government Committee. Committee review is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20 at 2 p.m.

Summaries of other featured bills can be found here.

Tenth Circuit: Statute of Limitations for Government Easement Tolled Well in Advance of Plaintiff’s Lawsuit

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in George v. United States on Monday, March 5, 2012.

Plaintiff Ann George wanted to build a fence across her property, but the fence blocked a federal easement road accessing the Gila National Forest. The government objected to the fence based on federal regulations. In 2009, Ms. George filed a quiet title action to build the fence. The District Court ruled in favor of the government, holding that the statute of limitations had run on plaintiff’s claim. Plaintiff appealed.

A quiet title action has a statute of limitations of 12 years, and begins to run when “the plaintiff or his predecessor in interest knew or should have known of the claim of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2409a(g). The Secretary of Agriculture published regulations in the Federal Register in 1977 prohibiting anyone from “placing . . . [a] fence . . . without a permit” anywhere in the “National Forest System” or on its “[f]orest development road[s] or trail[s].” 36 C.F.R. §§ 261.10(a); 261.1(a) (1977). Publishing a regulation in the Federal Register must be considered “sufficient to give notice of [its] contents” to “a person subject to or affected by it.” 44 U.S.C. § 1507.

The undisputed facts established that Mr. Hamilton, plaintiff’s predecessor in interest, reached an agreement with the federal government in 1979, in part establishing the easement road across which plaintiff wished to build a fence. Therefore, the statute of limitations began to run in 1979, when Mr. Hamilton “knew or should have known” about the regulations that had been published in 1977 prohibiting the construction of a fence on a forest road. Therefore, in 2009, plaintiff brought her claim 18 years too late.

The case was not decided on the merits. The court’s ruling had only to do with the statute of limitations. The judgment was affirmed.