August 20, 2019

Archives for August 26, 2011

Women Lawyers and Law Students Support Group Formed; Meeting Twice a Month

Colorado Lawyers Helping Lawyers is proud to announce the establishment of a Women’s Support Group. Beginning September 19, 2011, group meetings will be held the first and third Monday of the month at Trinity Church, 1800 Broadway, Denver, Colorado 80203, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Support group meetings will be professionally facilitated and are confidential. They are open to all women lawyers and women law students seeking support from colleagues for issues including, but not limited to, pressures of the legal profession, managing a law practice, family, and law school. No registration is required.

Disaster Preparedness and Response: Do You Have a Plan?

While Colorado may be situated at a safe distance as Hurricane Irene makes her away along the east coast, we’re not immune to potentially crippling disasters. Just this week, the strongest earthquake in forty years shook the state. Having a business plan to counter the sudden and often unforeseen effects of such disasters is essential for all legal professionals. Just because nothing catastrophic has happened to your practice before doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan ahead now. It’s easy to do and, as they say, better safe than sorry.

Beginning September 6th, 2011, the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section will introduce a series of programs dedicated to Disaster Preparedness and Response. This series will address issues arising out of disasters caused by foreign and domestic acts of terrorism, by negligent acts, by natural events, and by threats to our cyber-security. The programs will also confront the issues of preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, claims, and litigation.

Each webcast in this not-to-be-missed series is listed below. Enroll in the program or programs of your choice today and be sure to follow updates on the ABA-TIPS Blog and Twitter pages.

The Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association is the home for emerging issues and technologies in tort, trial, and insurance law.

Colorado Supreme Court Justice Alex J. Martinez to Resign after Accepting New Position

The Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission will meet on October 3, 2011, to review applications, and again on October 11 and 12  to interview candidates and select nominees for appointment by Governor Hickenlooper to the Colorado Supreme Court.  The vacancy will be created by the resignation of Justice Alex J. Martinez on October 31.

Justice Martinez was named as Denver’s Manger of Safety on Wednesday, a role he will assume in November.

Eligible applicants for appointment to fill the vacancy must be a qualified electors of the State of Colorado and must have been admitted to the practice of law in Colorado for five years.  Applications must be received by Monday, September 19.  The appointed Supreme Court justice will serve an initial provisional term of two years before facing a retention election. Retained justices serve ten-year terms.

Further information about the resignation of Justice Martinez and applying for the vacancy is available from the Colorado Judicial Branch.

Public Utilities Commission Amends Rules to Allow Exemption from Tiered Electric Rate Plan

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has amended their rules regarding electric utility rate plans. The changes are proposed pursuant to SB 11-087, which allows the Commission to adopt rules creating an exemption from tiered electric rate plans based on a customer’s medical condition or use of an essential life support device.

This rule requires electric utilities to file a tariff with a rate for persons who qualify for and request alternative rate(s) to tiered rates based on medical qualifications. The alternate rate based on medical exemption shall not be tiered. Should a customer qualify for the medical exemption rate, that customer will not be precluded from participating in any low-income program offered by the utility.

A hearing on the amended rule will be held on Friday, October 21, 2011 at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 250, Denver, Colorado 80202, beginning at 9:00 am.

Full text of the proposed changes and line edits to the rule can be found here. Further information about the rule and hearing can be found here.

Judge Munsinger Appointed as Chief Judge of First Judicial District

Today, Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael L. Bender announced that he has appointed the Honorable Stephen M. Munsinger as the new chief judge for the First Judicial District, which serves Gilpin and Jefferson counties.

Judge Munsinger will replace Chief Judge R. Brooke Jackson, who is leaving the District Court following his appointment to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Judge Munsinger’s appointment becomes effective on September 1, 2011. He was appointed to the District Court bench in July 2001 and previously worked in private practice, in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and in the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

Each of Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts has a chief judge. In that roll, Judge Munsinger will serve as the administrative head of the First Judicial District. He will be responsible for appointing the district administrator, chief probation officer, and clerks of the court, assisting in the personnel, financial and case-management duties of the district, and seeing that the business of the courts is conducted efficiently and effectively. Other responsibilities include judicial assignments within the district.

Click here to read the full press release regarding the appointment from State Judicial.

From Baldwin to Breckenridge: The Colorado Family Law Institute Is Over, But the Revolution Has Only Just Begun

On August 11, 2011, Alec Baldwin sparked the momentum needed for revolutionary change within the family court system. He spoke frankly, sometimes emotionally, and sometimes with his wicked sense of humor, about the current family law system and the damage that it can cause. He very pointedly stated that he holds judges responsible – for issuing timely orders that protect parent-child relationships, for enforcing those orders and conveying the absolute expectation of compliance, and for reigning in the lawyers who can add fuel to the already present fire of the litigants.

He challenged the room to respect the parties, the loss of a marriage, and the broken family they are experiencing. He endorsed collaborative law as one of the answers, if not the answer, for dissolving marital relationships respectfully and with dignity. The focus should always be on making a successful transition to the new form of family the parties assume after ending a marriage. He reminded all in attendance that families leave the system, attorneys, and judges behind, but continue to deal with the effects of the process long after, especially when attempting to raise children together.

Alec Baldwin with Brenda Storey, Chair of the Family Law Institute

As the event ended, members of the audience expressed utter enjoyment at being part of the event and the rejuvenation and hope they felt as a player within the divorce process. Several lingered after and shared their own similar experiences within the system. Even a judge in attendance chatted with Mr. Baldwin for a time about her observations on divorce law and her frustrations with what it has become.

The fundraiser component of the evening, a new component of the Institute, was also a huge success. Thousands of dollars were raised for the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado.

As the lights went out on the event that night, the energy for change remained lit.

That momentum continued into the next day. As attendees arrived in Breckenridge, that same energy from the previous night was in the air. People talked excitedly about the successful kick-off and the message delivered by Mr. Baldwin. Attorneys shared stories of their brush with the celebrity, as well as continued their conversations about their own similar experiences within a flawed system that has left clients, and themselves to an extent, bruised and damaged.

The pre-conference, also new to the Institute, had close to 100 participants. The Institute itself welcomed 446 attendees. Mr. Baldwin truly delivered the catalyst effect desired! The “Revolution” theme was enhanced by the classic and iconic Beatles song playing at the start of sessions, and numerous social opportunities helped further open attendees’ minds to the idea of change. The sessions offered at the Institute delivered the promised education and entertainment, and challenged everyone there to join the revolution to reform the practice of family law.

Pam Gagel, with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, shared solutions from other states, and even other countries. She offered suggestions to streamline the process and requested forward-thinking involvement by the bench and bar.

The Plan B Committee had a captive audience who listened intently to and contributed additional ideas about a rather innovative alternative: taking divorce out of the court system and providing a team approach with triage treatment and education.

At the “Open Memo to the Bench” session, Jim Miller took to heart Mr. Baldwin’s criticisms of the judiciary and opened the topic to further discussion about early judicial intervention, enforcement of orders, and judicial education. Dr. Dana Cogan delivered an inspiring lunchtime presentation on “Change, Life’s One Constant,” and Gina Weitzenkorn, the 2011 Family Law Icon Award recipient, challenged the room to join the revolution by taking more pro bono cases. Eric Six and Bill Vincent, both CPAs, presented on avoiding the battle of the experts. Terri Harrington finished off Saturday with a presentation on “Lawyers as Peacemakers” that had attendees talking well into the following cocktail hour about what events changed them for the better along their careers in the divorce system.

The Institute had wonderful sessions on innovative ways of looking at substantive law and family law practice. Other topics included discussions of when 50-50 parenting time is not the best solution, how to get around the double-dip case law, and what HIPAA is not, among many others. Attendees were provided with written materials, expert referrals, and inspiration to approach their cases, arguments, practice, and careers in a different light.

I have to say, the Institute, from kick-off to conclusion, was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

On August 14, the slow, acoustic version of “Revolution” played and the Institute came to a close. But the revolution had only just begun. Plan B is becoming a reality, moving into the pilot project phase. Jim Miller is generating an actual “Open Memo to the Bench” to be disseminated to the judiciary, reflecting the input provided during his session. Providing more family-law-focused training for judicial officers is a priority, with State Judicial and CBA-CLE joining forces. The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System has been granted new access to court cases to conduct research and facilitate further change.

And lastly, the Family Law Section is rolling out a new webpage that links its members to all of the judicial districts and has started a two-year process of implementing statewide the family court “Best Practices,” as identified by the Family Law Task Force. The Section is focusing on being an even bigger resource for its members – we hope you join us in making our vision for the future a reality!

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Every generation needs a new revolution.” This revolution has truly only begun and I look forward to reporting on our progress and success!

Tenth Circuit: Investor Forced to Sell Shares as the Result of a Merger Does Not Have Standing to Sue as a Purchaser of Securities under 1933 Act

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Katz v. Gerardi on Thursday, August 25, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Petitioners were minority shareholders in a real estate investment trust owned by a public company. The company entered into a merger agreement in which two investors acquired all of their outstanding public shares. As part of the merger, Petitoiners were squeezed out of the investment trust and had the option of receiving either cash or stock in the newly formed entity in exchange for their shares. Petitioner separately sued and claimed the offering documents associated with the merger contained false and misleading statements or omissions. The district court dismissed their complaint when Petitioners tried to join them together, finding that one of the petitioners was improperly splitting claims that should have been alleged in its earlier action. The court also found the other petitioner lacked standing to bring his securities law claims since he was not a purchaser when he opted to sell his shares.

The Court agreed with the district court’s analysis of the issues. As a result of the joinder, one of the petitioners had filed two cases in the same district court, involving the same subject matter, seeking the same claims for relief against the same defendants; the district court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing that petitioner from the case for claim splitting.

The district court also properly dismissed the other petitioner’s 1933 Act securities claims. The court concluded that he was not a purchaser of securities and therefore lacked standing to bring those claims. Petitioner contested this conclusion, “arguing he, in fact, was a purchaser under the securities laws for a single reason: the merger caused a fundamental change of his A-1 units that so altered the nature of his investment as to transform them into “new” A-1 Units. In his view, the A-1 Units lost their valuable liquidity, dividend, and tax indemnification features upon the announcement of the merger. The merger effectively forced him to purchase the “new” A-1 Units, which lacked the advantageous characteristics of the “old” units, for purposes of the 1933 Act.” The Court rejected this argument and determined that the merger did not force him to purchase new securities, but only to sell his A-1 Units for cash or new units. Since 1933 Act claims only give standing to purchasers of securities, his claims were properly dismissed.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 8/25/11

On Thursday, August 25, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and seven unpublished opinions.


Bagwell v. Safeway Denver Milk Plant

Biodiversity Conservation Alliance v. BLM

Durbin v. Province

United States v. Rendon-Martinez

United States v. Montoya-Ruiz

United States v. Fulton

Titsworth v. Mullin

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