June 16, 2019

Archives for May 19, 2015

Colorado Supreme Court: Protecting the Secrecy of Jury Deliberations is of Paramount Importance in Our Justice System

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Pena-Rodriguez v. People on Monday, May 18, 2015.

Secrecy of Jury Deliberations—CRE 606(b)—Sixth Amendment Right to Impartial Jury.

After entry of a guilty verdict, defense counsel obtained juror affidavits suggesting that one of the jurors exhibited racial bias against defendant during deliberations. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether CRE 606(b) applies to such affidavits and, if so, whether the Sixth Amendment requires their admission. The Court held that the affidavits regarding the juror’s biased statements fall within the broad sweep of CRE 606(b) and that they do not satisfy the rule’s “extraneous prejudicial information” exception. The Court further held that the trial court’s application of CRE 606(b) did not violate defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Bills Regarding Renewable Energy Credits, Pesticide Applicators, and Drinking Water Fund for Nonprofits Signed

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper signed three bills into law. To date, the governor has signed 227 bills into law. The bills signed Tuesday are summarized here.

  • HB 15-1377 – Concerning the Ability of Cooperative Electric Associations to Obtain Renewable Energy Credits Through the Operation of Shared Retail Distributed Generation Facilities, by Reps. Dominick Moreno & Jon Becker and Sens. Kevin Grantham & Kerry Donovan. The bill allows shared generation of renewable energy from sources other than community solar gardens.
  • SB 15-119 – Concerning Continuation of the Regulation of Pesticide Applicators by the Department of Agriculture, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2014 Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies, by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. KC Becker. The bill continues the Pesticide Applicators’ and changes membership of the Pesticide Advisory Committee.
  • SB 15-121 – Concerning the Eligibility for Financing Provided by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority of a Public Water System that is Not Owned by a Governmental Agency, by Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Timothy Dore. The bill allows the Drinking Water Revolving Fund to be used for nonprofits for drinking water projects.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2015 legislative decisions, click here.

Tenth Circuit: District Court Within Discretion to Disregard “Unwieldy Mass” of Unnumbered Exhibits

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London v. Garmin International, Inc. on Friday, March 27, 2015.

Garmin International was testing a new product in experimental, home-built aircraft, and installed one in Henry Bartle’s airplane. Garmin also sent employees to Bartle’s hanger in order to draw illustrations for a manual for the product. Bartle designed a custom bracket for the product and sold it through his company for use with the Garmin product. While Bartle was flying with his stepdaughter, her friend, and her friend’s daughter, the plane crashed short of the runway and all four were injured. Bartle’s passengers and their friends brought suit in California, alleging claims of strict product liability, negligence, breach of express and implied warranties, and loss of consortium. Bartle claimed that the aircraft was built in a joint venture with Garmin and Garmin’s insurance policy included coverage for such joint ventures. Garmin denied any business relationship with Bartle and denied that he was a covered insured under any of its policies.

Garmin’s insurance provider subsequently brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas under the Declaratory Judgment Act, seeking a declaration that Bartle fell outside the definition of “insured” in any of its policies with Garmin. Bartle submitted over 700 pages of evidence and exhibits, but failed to comply with the court’s numbering and particularity requirements, thus the district court disregarded most of his evidence. The district court granted summary judgment to Garmin, finding Bartle was not covered by the insurance policies.

The Tenth Circuit first addressed whether the district court abused its discretion in disregarding the evidence that did not comply with District of Kansas Rule 56.1. Bartle explained that the court’s e-filing system limited the sizes of exhibits and assigned new document and page numbers to electronically filed exhibits, which made his citations incorrect. Although the Tenth Circuit was sympathetic to Bartle’s explanations of difficulties with the e-filing system, it found the district court was well within its discretion in setting aside Bartle’s “unwieldy mass of data.”

Turning next to the merits of the appeal, the Tenth Circuit found the plain language of Garmin’s policy required Bartle and Garmin to have more than a joint venture. In order to be covered, Bartle would have had to create one of the specifically described business entities and allowed Garmin to exercise control or have an ownership interest. Since there was no evidence of control by Garmin, the district court correctly found Bartle was not insured.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 5/19/2015

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and three unpublished opinions.

Holly v. Bravo

United States v. Gallegos

In re Schupbach: Bank of Commerce & Trust Co. v. Schupbach

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.