April 18, 2019

All Are Welcome at Denver Lawyers’ Arts & Literature Reception on September 10

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The winners of the The Docket’s Third Annual Arts & Literature Contest have been announced, and a reception will be held on September 10, 2014, in their recognition and to honor all entrants. This year’s winners are Barry Bartel (photography and sculpture), Joel Sayres (fiction), Ilona Dotterrer (nonfiction), Erin Agee (poetry), and Brett Godfrey (painting). Their works are featured in the September 2014 issue of The Docket.

Everyone is welcome to attend the reception and enjoy complimentary drinks and appetizers at the DBA offices on September 10, 2014 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. RSVP by September 5 to lunches@cobar.org, or register online here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Art Dealer Not “Public Figure” so Defamatory Statements Not Matter of Public Concern

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Zueger v. Goss on Thursday, May 8, 2014.

Discovery Sanction—Defamatory Per Se—Public Concern—Public Figure—Damages—Speculation—Outrageous Conduct—Extortion.

Plaintiff Zueger is an art dealer, and the other plaintiffs are entities through which he purchases, sells, publishes, promotes, preserves, and exhibits artwork by Earl V. Biss, Jr. and other artists. Goss and Zueger had a dispute stemming from Goss’s contention that plaintiffs were making and selling unauthorized reproductions of Biss’s artwork. Goss made disparaging statements about plaintiffs on the Internet. The trial court’s decision was affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

On appeal, although she conceded that her trial counsel failed to timely submit her list of trial witnesses, Goss argued that the trial court erred by entering as a discovery sanction an order precluding Biss’s former attorney from testifying. The Court of Appeals determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in precluding the former attorney from testifying.

Goss also argued that the trial court erred by concluding that one of Goss’s statements about plaintiffs was defamatory per se. The Court concluded that none of the circumstances surrounding the publication of the statement, “The company is comparable to the ‘Man in Black’ for Mozart,” suggested that it was intended as an assertion of fact rather than an expression of a subjective judgment. Thus, the statement was not defamatory per se. Because this statement was one of fifteen submitted to the jury, and the record does not indicate which of the statements the jury relied on in finding liability, the defamation verdict was reversed and the case remanded for a new trial.

Goss further argued that the court erred by concluding that plaintiffs were not public figures and that the statements by Goss were not matters of “public concern” for the purpose of plaintiffs’ defamation claim. Here, Goss’s statements about plaintiffs’ business activities do not involve a matter of public concern, nor do her allegations make plaintiffs public figures. Therefore, on retrial, plaintiffs should not be deemed public figures, nor should the statements be treated as matters of public concern.

Goss also contended that the evidence of plaintiffs’ damages was too speculative as a matter of law. Here, through their expert witnesses, plaintiffs presented ample testimony to support their contention that sales by plaintiffs of Biss’s work declined as a result of Goss disparaging them online. Therefore, there was a sufficient evidentiary basis for the amount awarded by the jury.

Plaintiffs contended on cross-appeal that the trial court erred by dismissing their claims for outrageous conduct and extortion at the close of evidence. Goss’s conduct was not sufficiently egregious to establish that it was extreme and outrageous. Further, Colorado does not have a civil extortion statute, and there is no evidence in the record that Goss threatened to cause economic injury to plaintiffs, with the intent to induce them, against their will, to do an act. Therefore, the trial court did not err in dismissing these claims.

Summary and full case available here.

Last Chance to Enter Denver Lawyers’ Arts and Literature Contest!

Art_contestGet ready to ignite your creative spark! The Denver Lawyers’ Arts and Literature Contest is accepting submissions for one more week – through Wednesday, April 30. All Denver Bar Association members are eligible, except for members of the Docket Committee (the judges). Artists may enter previously unpublished work in multiple categories. The subject matter is open to the artists’ choice—no legal content is required!

Writing Category:

Submissions in the writing category should be no more than 1,500 words and can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or humor.

Visual Category:

Submissions of visual arts can include photography, paintings, drawings, or sculptures. Digital file submissions are preferred. Images of submissions should be high-resolution quality: 300 dpi at 10” x 12”. Please describe the scale of the work and include several photos when necessary. For photography submissions, please explain how the shot was obtained, as well as any post-production techniques used (i.e., Photoshop). Painting can incorporate watercolors and oil/acrylic/mixed media.

To submit a piece via email, fill out this form, and email Kate Schuster at kschuster@cobar.org. Please include the artist’s name and category in the subject line. To submit a piece by mail, a digital copy must be included, and sent to: The Denver Bar Association ATTN: Kate Schuster, 1900 Grant St., Suite 900, Denver, CO 80203.

Calling All Creative Lawyers – Enter Your Work in Creative Arts Contest

Are you an attorney with an artistic inclination or a way with words? The submission period is open to enter your creative works in the 2013 Denver Lawyers Arts & Literature Contest, sponsored by The Docket. Contest submission categories include: Writing—Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Humor; and Visual Arts—Painting (watercolors and oil/acrylic/mixed media), Drawing, Sculpture, and Photography. In all categories, the subject matter is open to the artists’ choice—no legal subject matter is required. Deadline to enter is 11 p.m. on  Monday, April 15. Winners will be recognized in the September issue of The Docket.

When entering, consider these guidelines: Writing entries should not exceed 1,500 words. For visual entries, please only send a digital file showing the work, not the original piece. Please do describe the scale of the work; if helpful to understanding the work, please provide multiple photo views of the work (particularly if submitting for Sculpture). In Photography submissions, please explain how the shot was obtained, as well as any post-production (i.e., Photoshop).

All Denver Bar Association members are eligible to enter the contest, except staff of the DBA, members of The Docket Committee (the judges), and any of these groups’ immediate family. For full entry details and rules, click here; download an entry form here. Questions? Email Sara Crocker at scrocker@cobar.org.