August 17, 2017

Colorado Court of Appeals: Foster Parents Allowed to Intervene to Appeal Non-termination of Mother’s Parental Rights

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of C.W.B. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Dependency and NeglectTreatment Plan—Guardian ad Litem—Termination of Parental Rights.

A petition in dependency and neglect was filed for C.W.B., Jr., and the child was placed with foster parents (intervenors). Father’s parental rights were terminated. After a hearing, the court denied the motion to terminate mother’s parental rights over the guardian ad litem’s objection.

On appeal, the intervenors first contended that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to give primary consideration to the physical, mental, and emotional conditions and needs of the child when denying the motion to terminate mother’s parental rights. Colorado law requires that the child’s needs and the parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs be considered together. Here, although there were concerns about mother’s ability to parent the child, the trial court concluded that mother’s treatment plan was appropriate, and she had substantially complied with it. Additionally, the court found that the evidence showed that mother would provide nurturing and protection adequate to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs. The court properly assessed the child’s needs and the parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs and applied the correct legal standard in denying the motion to terminate mother’s parental rights.

Intervenors also contended that the court erred in refusing to require the Montezuma County Department of Social Services to comply with the expedited procedures under C.R.S. § 19-3-703. The trial court’s findings were adequate to show that there was good cause to delay permanency in this case.

The order was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Intervention Inappropriate Where Interests Adequately Represented by Proper Party

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Inc. v. New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association is a Colorado regional non-profit electrical cooperative that provides wholesale electric power. In 1999, Tri-State and Plains Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative applied to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) to allow the two entities to merge. They entered into a stipulation which required Tri-State to file an Advance Notice with the NMPRC prior to raising rates, provided member co-ops an opportunity to protest Tri-State’s rates, and provided procedures for the NMPRC to suspend rates, conduct a hearing, and “establish reasonable rates.”

In 2012, Tri-State notified NMPRC of its intent to increase rates in 2013. Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC), one of Tri-State’s member systems, along with two other member systems, filed protests objecting to the rate increase. The NMPRC suspended Tri-State’s rate increase for 2013. Tri-State again notified NMPRC of its intention to increase rates for 2014, and again NMPRC suspended the rate increase upon protests from KCEC and other member systems. Tri-State filed the present district court against NMPRC in 2013, and amended its complaint to include the 2014 denial.

KCEC sought to intervene as of right pursuant to F.R.C.P. 24(a)(2) and permissively pursuant to 24(b). Tri-State opposed intervention but NMPRC did not. The district court denied intervention both as of right and permissively, and KCED timely appealed.

The Tenth Circuit first evaluated KCEC’s claim that it was improperly denied intervention as of right. Because KCEC’s motion for intervention was timely filed, the Tenth Circuit questioned whether KCEC had an interest that could be impaired by the action’s disposition, and found that it did. The Tenth Circuit then moved to the question of whether KCEC’s interest was adequately represented by NMPRC. The Tenth Circuit found that KCEC’s and NMPRC’s litigation interests were identical, as well as their objectives in the proceeding. Because KCEC failed to overcome the presumption that NMPRC’s representation was adequate, the Tenth Circuit found no error in the district court’s determination that intervention as of right was inappropriate. The Tenth Circuit similarly found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s denial of permissive intervention.

The district court’s denial of KCEC’s intervention motion was affirmed.

Colorado Supreme Court: Law Firm and Metropolitan District Share a Common Goal in Water Rights Litigation

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Concerning the Application for Underground Water Rights of Cherokee Metropolitan District on Monday, July 1, 2013.

Civil Procedure—Intervention as of Right Under CRCP 24(a).

The Supreme Court held that Felt, Monson & Culichia LLC (FMC) did not have a right to intervene under CRCP 24(a) because FMC did not make a compelling showing that Cherokee Metropolitan District may not adequately represent its interest in the underlying litigation. Furthermore, FMC did not establish that the water court abused its discretion in denying its motion for permissive intervention under CRCP 24(b). The Court therefore affirmed the water court’s denial of FMC’s motion to intervene in the consolidated Case Nos. 2005CW06 and 2005CW20.

Summary and full case available here.