August 25, 2019

Archives for January 7, 2013

New Year’s Resolution: Get More Clients!

For attorneys who don’t have a marketing staff and want a larger online presence, there are a bewildering number of options and companies that offer advice and services. Three founders of an Internet marketing firm have published a book, How to Turn Clicks Into Clients: The Ultimate Law Firm Guide for Getting More Clients Through the Internet,that offers simple but effective tips for small and solo law firms looking to attract new clients and show up higher in Internet search engines (and do it in an ethical and effective way). The strategies from the authors, Mark Homer, Ed Rush and Jabez LeBret, come from their experience at their firm, where they work primarily with small and solo law firms.

If you’re looking to take a course on the subject, CBA-CLE is hosting one of the authors, Jabez LeBret, for a half-day CLE program on January 18. All three authors presented at a number of bar associations around the country in 2012 and the response from the seminar has been enthusiastic. Solo and small firm attorneys can get practical, hands-on tips during the program that will focus on three areas: How to optimize your website properly; local listing directories — reviews and client confidentiality; and Google Places — what you can and can’t do. Everyone who attends will receive a copy of How to Turn Clicks Into Clients: The Ultimate Law Firm Guide for Getting More Clients Through the Internet.

Mr. LeBret is an experienced speaker, and has delivered more than 900 presentations over the last nine years to organizations including Microsoft, Deloitte, Boeing, and GE. He is considered a leading authority on monetizing Social Media and often speaks at industry conferences on this subject.

There are other excellent books available that teach techniques on how to increase your online presence and you can also search online for information, with a number of blogs available that focus on this topic. The only thing that is certain with the Internet is that things can change quickly. For attorneys who are looking to maintain a strong online presence, we encourage ongoing research and education. Learning from the experts is a good way to stay up-to-date and to protect yourself and your firm.

CLE Program: Turning Clicks Into Clients

This CLE presentation will take place on Friday, January 18, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. and 1 p.m. Click here to register for the morning’s live program, and click here to register for the afternoon’s live program.

This program will also be offered as a webcast. Click here for the morning’s webcast and click here for the afternoon.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Legislative Override of Contractual Obligations Violates Constitutional Contracts Clauses

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Raptor Education Foundation, Inc. v. State of Colorado, Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles on Thursday, December 27, 2012.

Summary Judgment—Impossibility Doctrine—Contracts Clause of U.S. and Colorado Constitutions.

Plaintiff Raptor Education Foundation, Inc. (REF) appealed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of defendant, the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (Department). REF also challenged the denial of its CRCP 59(d)(6) motion for a new trial. The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

This was a second appeal, following developments after the issuance of the opinion in the first appeal. Between December 1999 and February 2000, the parties executed a “letter of agreement” regarding specialty license plates. The Department agreed to sell the specialty plates only to members of the REF. Several months after the agreement, the Department informed REF that its request had been approved but that it would not restrict sales to its members.

REF sued, alleging breach of contract and violation of equal protection resulting from the Department’s sale to unqualified purchasers. A trial judge found the letter of agreement was not a valid contract, but did find a violation of equal protection and ordered sales to be made only to REF members in the future (2002 order). Both parties appealed. In the interim, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring the Department to restrict sales of the specialty plates to REF members. On the Department’s motion, the appeal was dismissed by a division of the Court of Appeals. The Court found that a contract existed between REF and the Department and held it was error to have found otherwise. The case was remanded for a determination of damages, and the parties eventually settled.

In 2009, the General Assembly amended CRS § 42-3-208 to allow members of the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program to also purchase the specialty plates (2009 amendment). REF sued, alleging breach of contract and violation of the 2002 order. As an affirmative defense, the Department cited the 2009 amendment. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the Department, concluding that the 2009 amendment made it impossible for the Department to comply with its obligations under the contract with REF. REF filed a motion for a new trial pursuant to CRCP 59(d)(6), which was denied without comment.

On appeal, REF argued that the 2009 amendment violated the Contracts Clauses of the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions. The Court agreed. Both Constitutions prohibit the passing of any laws impairing the obligation of contracts. The Contracts Clauses are not absolute prohibitions but allow legislative action that promotes “the common weal, or . . . general good of the public, though contracts previously entered into between individuals may thereby be affected.” The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the inquiry is “whether the change in state law has ‘operated as a substantial impairment of a contractual relationship.’” [Gen. Motors Corp. v. Romein, 503 U.S. 181, 186 (1992)].In Romein, as here, where a contractual obligation of the government is at issue, the examination is more stringent.

REF and the Department entered into a contract whereby the Department would sell specialty license plates only to members of REF. The 2009 amendment impaired that contract. Neither the 2002 legislation nor the 2009 amendment was foreseeable when the parties entered into their contract because they regulated an area never before subject to regulation. The Court found that the 2009 amendment substantially impaired the contract and therefore breached the Contracts Clauses.

The trial court’s judgment in favor of the Department on the breach of contract claim was reversed and the Court remanded the case for assessment of damages. In addition, the trial court’s judgment in favor of the Department on REF’s claim for violation of the court’s 2002 order was reversed. Because the 2009 amendment was unconstitutional, the trial court also must determine on remand what damages should be assessed for violation of the 2002 order.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur Shifted Burden of Proof to Defendant in Negligence Case

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Harner v. Chapman, MD on Thursday, December 27, 2012.

Medical Malpractice—Res Ipsa Loquitur Doctrine—CRE 301.

Plaintiff Carolyn Harner appealed the judgment entered in favor of defendant Dr. James Chapman, as well as the denial of her motion for post-trial relief. The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

This medical malpractice case arose out of the death of Harner’s husband, who died several hours after undergoing an angiogram performed by Chapman, a cardiologist. Harner’s principal argument was that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that the res ipsa loquitur doctrine shifted to Dr. Chapman the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he was not negligent. The trial court concluded that the res ipsa loquiturdoctrine applied, but that the ultimate burden of proof remained with Harner pursuant to CRE 301. However, CRE 301 does not supersede the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Accordingly, the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury that the res ipsa loquitur doctrine shifted the burden of proof to defendant. Because the question of who had the ultimate burden of proof may well have been dispositive in this case, the error was not harmless. Therefore, the judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

Summary and full case available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/3/13

On Tuesday, January 2, 2013, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and five unpublished opinions.

Grady v. Garcia

United States v. Montgomery

United States v. Montgomery

United States v. Van Tuyl

Wehrley v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company

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