April 24, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals: Good Cause Shown for Failure to Attend Hearing; Left on Trip after Appeal Deadline without Notice of Appeal

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Norman v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office on September 1, 2011.

Unemployment Compensation Benefits—Appeal—Notice—Hearing—Good Cause.

In this unemployment compensation benefits case, claimant sought review of a final order of the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (Panel) denying his request for a new hearing. The order was set aside and the case was remanded.

On January 10, 2011, claimant was awarded unemployment compensation benefits in a deputy’s decision based on his separation from employment with GMRI, Inc. (employer). Employer timely appealed the deputy’s decision to the Division of Employment (Division) on January 25, 2011. Employer’s appeal was not served on claimant.

The first notice sent to claimant that employer had appealed the deputy’s decision was the Division’s notice of hearing sent to him on February 3, 2011. This notice informed claimant that the hearing on employer’s appeal was set for February 15, 2011. Because claimant was on vacation from February 1, 2011 through February 17, 2011, he was unaware of the hearing until it had already taken place. He requested a new hearing as soon as he received the hearing officer’s decision disqualifying him from benefits. The Panel denied claimant’s request for a new hearing, ruling that good cause had not been shown to excuse his absence from the February 15 hearing.

Claimant argued that the Panel abused its discretion in denying his request for a new hearing. The Court of Appeals agreed. Claimant showed good cause for his failure to attend the hearing. He left on his trip after employer’s appeal deadline had expired and without awareness of employer’s notice of appeal. Further, the notice of appeal rights would not give a reasonable and prudent person any reason to expect a hearing to be set and held within days of that deadline. Therefore, the Panel abused its discretion in denying claimant’s request for a new hearing under these circumstances.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on September 1, 2011, can be found here.

Legal Update: Supreme Court Hearing Set for Proposed Colo. RPC Changes

The Colorado Supreme Court will hold an open hearing on proposed amendments to Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct (Colo. RPC) 1.15 and 3.8 and a proposed new rule, Colo. RPC 1.16A, on Thursday, June 10, at 3:00 p.m.

The proposed amendments to Colo. RPC 1.15, “Safekeeping Property,” will add language to the Rules that clarifies the disposition of client property subject to law firm dissolutions and attorney departures. An addition to Comment [1] would define “property” to mean “jewelry and other valuables entrusted to the lawyer by the client, as well as documents having intrinsic value or directly affecting valuable righs, such as securities, negotiable instruments, deeds, and wills.”

The proposed amendments to Colo. RPC 3.8, “Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor,” delineate the actions a prosecutor must undertake when he or she “knows of new, credible and material evidence creating a reasonable probability that a convicted defendant did not commit an offense of which the defendant was convicted.” Six new Comments to the Rule discuss definitions of terms, steps to be taken by the prosecutor, and criteria for determining the nature of the evidence at issue.

Proposed new rule Colo. RPC 1.16A, “Client File Retention,” elicidates how long a lawyer must retain a client’s files after the representation ends. It proposes a minimum two-year retention period for client files, unless particular circumstances exist. Further, it proposes that a lawyer may, ten years after a representation ends and there are no further legal actions yet pending, destroy the files without giving notice to the client. The Comments distinguish “files” from “property”; explain that file retention may be in electronic, rather than paper, form; and defines the limitations of various time periods cited in the proposed Rule.

The June 10 hearing is open to the public and will be held in the Colorado Supreme Court’s temporary courtroom on the first floor of the Denver Post building at 101 W. Colfax Avenue. Interested parties are also invited to submit written comments to the court prior to the hearing. Comments and requests to participate in the hearing must be received by Susan J. Festag, Clerk of the Supreme Court, by the close of business on Thursday, June 3.

Additional details here.

Legal Update: Colorado Supreme Court to Hold Public Hearing on C.R.C.P. 47

The Civil Rules Committee of the Colorado Supreme Court will hold an open hearing on proposed amendments to Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure 47(a)(5) and (u) on Wednesday, April 28, at 1:30 p.m.

The proposed amendments to C.R.C.P. 47 will add language to the Rules that limit the circumstances under which an impaneled jury may discuss a case, the evidence presented at trial, and the case’s potential outcome. The language would also grant the trial court the discretion to limit “pre-deliberation discussions of the evidence” based on a showing of “good cause.”

The April 28 hearing is open to the public and will be held in the Colorado Supreme Court’s temporary courtroom on the first floor of the Denver Post building at 101 W. Colfax Avenue. Interested parties are also invited to submit written comments to the court prior to the hearing. Comments and requests to participate in the hearing must be received by Susan J. Festag, Clerk of the Supreme Court, by the close of business on Friday, April 2.

Additional details here.