April 22, 2019

Archives for March 4, 2016

J. Ryann Peyton Named Next Director of Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program

RyannPeytonOn Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of J. Ryann Peyton as director of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), effective July 1, 2016. Peyton will replace John Baker, who in February 2013 was named the first director of CAMP. Peyton will begin at CAMP on April 1, 2016 and will work with Baker through his June 30, 2016, departure.

Peyton is currently the Training and Legal Director at the GLBT Center of Colorado. She has been at The Center since March 2015. Prior to her work at The Center, Peyton was in private practice, focusing on domestic relations law for LGBT and non-traditional families. She has also served as an adjunct professor in the University of Denver’s externship program, serves on the board of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and is the former president of that association, served on the board of the Twin Cities Quorum (LGBT Chamber of Commerce) in Minnesota, and has been a board member for the Center for Legal Inclusiveness. She received her law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and her LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Denver.

The CAMP program was established in February 2013 to develop and administer mentoring programs in all of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts. CAMP programming occurs through bar associations, inns of court, law firms, agencies, and other legal organizations throughout the state. In locations where no organization-related programs are available, CAMP matches mentors with mentees in an individualized program.

For more information about Peyton’s directorship, click here.

 

Colorado Court of Appeals: Political Party Can Establish Expenditure Committee Not Subject to Contribution Limits

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Colorado Republican Party v. Williams on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

Independent Expenditure Committee—Political Party—Contributions—Constitutional Limits—Campaign and Political Finance Amendment—Fair Campaign Practices Act.

The Colorado Republican Party (Party) is a Colorado unincorporated nonprofit association. The Party created an Independent Expenditure Committee (IEC) to make independent expenditures and raise funds through donations and otherwise in any amount from any permissible source to fund that committee. The Party filed the current lawsuit seeking declaratory relief to confirm its actions. The district court granted summary judgment, concluding that the current constitutional and statutory scheme allows a political party to create an IEC and that such a committee is not subject to any contribution limits applicable to political parties under the Campaign and Political Finance Amendment and the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

On appeal, intervenor Colorado Ethics Watch, a nonprofit organization authorized to do business in Colorado, contended that the district court erred when it interpreted the Fair Campaign Practices Act to allow a political party to establish an IEC not subject to the source and contribution limits set forth in the Colorado Constitution, article XXVIII (the Campaign and Political Finance Amendment) and CRS §§ 1-45-101 to -118 (the Fair Campaign Practices Act). The current legislative scheme and pertinent case law, however, provide no barrier to the Party’s establishment of the IEC.

Ethics Watch also asked the Court of Appeals to conclude as a matter of law, based on federal precedent, that any IEC established by a political party is per se incapable of independence in that it is always controlled by or coordinated with the party, therefore subjecting the committee to source and contribution limits. The Court declined to “read an exception to the law that is not there.”

The order was affirmed.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: District Court Not Statutorily Required to Grant De Novo Review of Arbitrator’s Decision

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Marriage of Vanderborgh on Thursday, March 25, 2016.

Parenting Time Dispute—Arbitration Agreement—De Novo Hearing—Constitutional Rights.

The parties submitted their post-dissolution parenting time disputes to an arbitrator pursuant to their agreement in their Parenting Plan. After the third decision by an arbitrator, father moved for a de novo hearing, under CRS § 14-10-128.5(2), on his motion to modify the parenting time schedule. The court denied father’s request for a de novo hearing and confirmed the arbitrator’s decision.

On appeal, father first contended that the district court erred by denying him a de novo hearing on his request for equal parenting time during the school year because CRS § 14-10-128.5(2) mandates such a hearing whenever a party requests one. The plain language of this statute, however, gives the court discretion to grant or deny a party’s motion for a de novo hearing, and the Court of Appeals concluded that the court did not abuse that discretion.

Father next argued that CRS § 14-10-128.5(2) is unconstitutional as the district court applied it because it “allows an arbitration decision on parenting time, a constitutionally protected interest, without procedural safeguards and only discretionary review.” Father agreed to arbitrate the issue of parenting time, and his right to challenge the arbitration award under the Colorado Uniform Arbitration Act and to request (but not necessarily receive) a de novo hearing under CRS § 14-10-128.5 sufficiently protect his rights to procedural due process.

Father also argued that the parties’ child was denied equal protection because he does not have the same rights as children whose parents do not choose arbitration for parenting time disputes. The Court determined that the child’s rights were adequately protected under the dissolution statutes.

The order was affirmed and the case was remanded to determine mother’s request for appellate attorney fees.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: Landowner Cannot Be Held Vicariously Liable Under PLA and Common Law

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Reid v. Berkowitz on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

Default Judgment—Premises Liability Act—Negligence—Exclusivity of Remedies.

Reid sustained injuries after falling through an unsecured guardrail at a construction site where Berkowitz was the general contractor. There were also subcontractors at the site. Reid sued Berkowitz, a landowner as defined by the Colorado Premises Liability Act (PLA). Berkowitz answered, made a jury demand, and designated the subcontractors as nonparties at fault. Reid amended his complaint to add claims of negligence against the subcontractors and named them as defendants.

The district court entered defaults against the subcontractors after they failed to answer and, after a damages hearing, the court entered judgments against them. The court made no findings on whether Berkowitz was vicariously liable for the judgments against the subcontractors.

The PLA claim against Berkowitz proceeded under a different judge to a jury trial at which the default judgments were not mentioned to the jurors. The jury awarded Reid damages, but despite Berkowitz’s request, was not instructed to apportion fault to the subcontractors nor to evaluate Reid’s comparative negligence.

On a prior appeal of the jury verdict, the Court of Appeals agreed that refusing the apportionment instruction was error but concluded the error was harmless because the subcontractors fault was imputable to Berkowitz, who had a nondelegable duty of care to Reid. The Court ordered a retrial solely on the issue of Reid’s comparative negligence, and a second jury allocated the fault 90% to Berkowitz and 10% to Reid. Berkowitz paid the amount awarded.

Reid then moved for declaratory relief, requesting that the district court find Berkowitz liable for 90% of the default judgments entered against the subcontractors, plus simple interest. After a hearing, the court held Berkowitz liable for the entirety of the default judgments with compound interest.

On appeal, Berkowitz argued multiple theories in support of his assertion that the court erred in finding him liable for the amount of the default judgments entered against the subcontractors. The sole argument the Court addressed was whether Berkowitz could be simultaneously liable for damages as a landowner under the PLA and vicariously liable for a default judgment under negligence theories against his subcontractors. Based on the unambiguous language of the statute, the Court held that the PLA is an exclusive remedy against a landowner for injuries that occur as a result of conditions, activities, or circumstances on his property.

The judgment and orders were reversed and the case was remanded to vacate the judgments against Berkowitz.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 3/3/2016

On Thursday, March 3, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and 30 unpublished opinions.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 3/3/2016

On Thursday, March 3, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and four unpublished opinions.

United States v. Melendez

United States v. Cordova-Ordaz

United States v. Perez

United States v. Chacon

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