March 26, 2019

Archives for August 7, 2013

Colorado Court of Appeals: Insurance Company’s Limited Motion to Intervene Wrongfully Denied by Trial Court

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Mauro v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. on Thursday, August 1, 2013.

Intervention in Personal Injury Action—CRCP 24(b)—Protective Order.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm) appealed from the district court’s order denying its motion to intervene in this personal injury action filed by plaintiffs Maranda G. Mauro, by and through her father, Walter J. Mauro, Jr., and Walter J. Mauro, Jr., individually. The Court of Appeals reversed and the case was remanded with directions.

State Farm sought to intervene in the litigation pursuant to CRCP 24(b) for the limited purpose of opposing the protective order sought by Walter Mauro approving a proposed confidentiality agreement covering his and his daughter’s medical, school, employment, and tax records.

State Farm contended that the district court erred by denying its motion to intervene as a matter of right to challenge the protective order. State Farm’s ability to comply with state law and insurance regulations, as applicable to Maranda Mauro’s claim, is “an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action,” as required under the first prong of CRCP 24(a)(2). In addition, State Farm has no other practical alternative for challenging the protective order but to request intervention. Finally, State Farm’s interest is not adequately represented by the existing parties to the action. Therefore, State Farm met all the requirements of CRCP 24(a) and had a limited right to intervene in this case. Accordingly, the district court’s order denying its renewed motion to intervene was reversed and the case was remanded to the district court to allow State Farm to challenge the protective order.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Colorado State Treasurer Not Allowed Unfettered Access to PERA Records

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Stapleton v. Public Employees Retirement Association on Thursday, August 1, 2013.

Unfettered Access to Records—Trustee.

Plaintiff Walker Stapleton, in his capacities as Colorado State Treasurer and as a trustee of defendant Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA), appealed the district court’s order upholding the decision of the PERA Board of Trustees (Board) denying his request for unfettered access to PERA records. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

In 2010, Stapleton was elected as state treasurer. By statute, the state treasurer is one of the members of the Board. In June 2011, Stapleton wrote a letter to the Board president requesting unfettered access to PERA records. Stapleton’s request was denied.

Stapleton argued that the district court erred in ruling as a matter of law that Stapleton is not entitled to unfettered access to PERA records. Although a PERA trustee may need to access PERA records to fulfill his or her statutory duties, such access is guided by the statutory requirements that it be (1) solely in the interest of the members and benefit recipients, and (2) for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits and defraying reasonable expenses incurred in performing such duties as required by law. Therefore, the Board may place reasonable conditions on, or refuse, a co-trustee’s wholesale request for information. Thus, Stapleton was not entitled to unfettered access to the PERA records that he requested.

Summary and full case available here.

Tenth Circuit: Inadvertent Errors in Search Warrant Affidavit did not Negate Probable Cause Finding

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Sanchez on Monday, August 5, 2013.

Defendant Edwin Sanchez appealed his conviction on one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and his sentence of 78 months’ imprisonment. The marijuana was found in a shed behind Defendant’s home and in a detached garage on the property. The affidavit for the warrant to search the home made no mention of Defendant, who had not been implicated in the drug-conspiracy investigation leading to the search. The home was searched on the mistaken belief that it was the residence of an identified member of the conspiracy—Defendant’s daughter. At trial the government tied Defendant to drug trafficking by providing telephone records showing many phone calls between Defendant and a drug trafficker.

Defendant argued that (1) factual errors in the search-warrant affidavit required suppression of the evidence obtained in the search; (2) the telephone records should not have been admitted as evidence because they were unfairly prejudicial; (3) the district court erred by denying him a minor-role sentencing adjustment; (4) the court’s finding that he gave perjured testimony during trial was not sufficiently independent of the jury’s verdict to support a sentence enhancement for obstruction of justice; and (5) his sentence was substantively unreasonable.

The Tenth Circuit held that (1) the errors in the affidavit did not undermine the magistrate judge’s finding of probable cause as they were inadvertent; (2) the phone-record evidence was relevant, and its relevance was not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice; (3) the district court reasonably found that Defendant had not proved that his role in the offense was minor; (4) the court’s factual findings supported its imposition of the obstruction adjustment; and (5) Defendant’s within guidelines sentence was substantively reasonable. The court affirmed.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 8/5/13

On Monday, August 5, 2013, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and seven unpublished opinions.

United States v. Garcia

Brown, Jr. v. Rudek

Border Area Mental Health v. Squier

United States v. Delgadillo

Duvall v. Putnam City School Dist. No. 1

United States v. Yagi

Fuller v. Pacheco

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