August 23, 2019

Archives for August 18, 2011

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 8/18/11

Tenth Circuit: Unreasonable to Expect Insurance Company to Hold On to Unwanted Property for Two Years After All Related Claims Appeared Resolved

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Johnson v. Liberty Mutual Life Ins. Co. on Wednesday, August 17, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Petitioners allege that Respondent should be held liable for failing to hold on to a pair of tail lights that, they say, would have helped them win a personal injury lawsuit they wanted to bring. The tail lights were the subject of a lawsuit for an auto accident in which Respondent successfully proved liability on a third party for an incident involving Petitioners. Now, over two years later, Petitioners want to sue that third party themselves for personal injuries, but Respondent had closed the file and no longer retained the tail lights they wished to use as evidence.

However, the Court dispatched with their case handily. Petitioners “were apparently unable to find any contractual or statutory cause of action to fasten their claim onto, so they turned to the common law of tort. They argued that [Respondent] was liable for ‘spoliation of evidence,’ that the company acted negligently as a bailee, and that the company engaged in bad faith breach of its insurance duties.” But, because Petitioners must show that their their claimed damages were reasonably foreseeable — that Respondent knew or should have known that the destroyed tail lights would be relevant or valuable evidence in their future affirmative litigation — all of their claims fail. “In the absence of any statutory or contractual duty, it is unreasonable to expect anyone to hold onto apparently unwanted property for two years after all claims involving it appear to have been resolved. The common law rarely demands such uncommon foresight.”

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 8/17/11

On Wednesday, August 17, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and five unpublished opinions.


United States v. Welch

Fulton v. Chester

Jernigan v. Jaramillo

Hyberg v. Milyard

Martinez v. Medina

No case summaries are available for unpublished opinions.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