July 22, 2018

Archives for June 25, 2018

Hon. Elizabeth Strobel to Retire from 19th Judicial District Court

On Thursday, June 14, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Elizabeth Strobel from the 19th Judicial District, effective January 8, 2019.

Judge Strobel was appointed to the bench in 2009, and she is the Presiding Family Court Judge and the Lead D&N Judge in the 19th Judicial District, handling a domestic relations and dependency and neglect docket in Greeley. Prior to her appointment, she was a district court magistrate in the 19th Judicial District. She was in private practice in Greeley prior to her appointments to the bench. She received her undergraduate degree from Montana State University and her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law. She has presented at several CBA-CLE family law seminars, and she was a prior author of the grandparent rights chapter in the Colorado Senior Law Handbook.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the 19th Judicial District and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from the ex officio chair of the 19th Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice William Hood, III. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 16, 2018; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 9, 2018.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Municipality’s Condemnation of Land Proper to Create Open Space Buffer but Not to Prevent Grocery Store Relocation

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in City of Lafayette v. Town of Erie on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Municipal Law—Eminent Domain—Public Use Purpose—Necessity—Bad Faith.

Lafayette is a home rule municipality, and Erie is a statutory town. Erie annexed Nine Mile Corner, entered into a disposition and development agreement, and identified King Soopers as a potential tenant. Thereafter, Lafayette determined it would condemn 22 acres of the southern portion of Nine Mile Corner to create an open space community buffer and leave the remaining 23 acres of Nine Mile Corner for Erie. Lafayette filed a petition in condemnation, and Erie responded by filing a motion to dismiss, arguing that Lafayette’s condemnation lacked a proper public purpose, thereby depriving the court of jurisdiction. The district court granted Erie’s motion.

On appeal, Lafayette argued that its condemnation had a proper public purpose and that no bad faith motivated its condemnation decision. A municipality may condemn a statutory town’s property because an open space community buffer could be a valid public purpose. Here, Erie met its burden of showing that Lafayette’s condemnation decision was motivated by bad faith, and the district court properly examined Lafayette’s finding of necessity. The district court indicated that Lafayette was motivated to keep King Soopers and its tax revenue within Lafayette and determined that Lafayette’s primary interest in the property was to interfere with Erie’s proposed commercial development. The record supported the determination that the taking for an open space community buffer was pretextual and was not a lawful public purpose.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Landowner’s Potential Future Sale of Lot Irrelevant to Determination of Whether Property Residential

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Hogan v. Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Property Tax—Residential Property.

The Hogans own three connected and contiguous parcels of land in Summit County (the County). Lot 1 has a home built on it. The Hogans built a deck extending from their home across the boundary line onto Lot 2. Lot 3 is located in a subdivision and has an underground sewer line and an unpaved driveway installed by the original developer of the subdivision, but otherwise remains undeveloped. The Summit County Assessor denied the Hogans’ request to reclassify Lot 3 as residential, determining it to be vacant land for purposes of taxation. The Hogans appealed, and the Board of County Commissioners of Summit County (Board) upheld the Assessor’s classification. The Hogans appealed to the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA), which upheld the Assessor’s classification.

On appeal, the Hogans asserted that the BAA erred in determining that Lot 3 was not “used as a unit in conjunction with the residential improvements.” The primary factor for determining property classification for property tax purposes is the property’s actual use on the relevant assessment date. Here, the BAA considered the likelihood of the parcel being conveyed separately, whether the parcel’s use was necessary or essential to qualify as integral, and whether the use of the parcel was active as opposed to passive. The BAA misapplied the law by relying on the possible future conveyance of Lot 3 as a separate unit without reference to how that possibility related to the Hogans’ current use of the parcel. The BAA further erred in interpreting the statute to require that the parcel’s use be a necessary or essential part of the residence. Finally, the use of the contiguous parcel need not be “active” as opposed to “passive.” Here, there is no evidence in the record that Lot 3 was used for a nonresidential purpose.

Lastly, the court of appeals rejected the BAA’s and the County’s arguments that the case could be affirmed on different grounds.

The BAA’s order was reversed and the case was remanded.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/22/2018

On Thursday, June 22, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and five unpublished opinions.

Rodriguez-Aguirre v. Hudgins

United States v. Clifton

United States v. Harmon

United States v. Tena-Arana

Davenport v. Chapdelaine

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