August 24, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Debt Services Company Cannot Avoid DMSA Regulation by Associating with Attorneys

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Coffman v. Williamson on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

Uniform Debt-Management Services Act—Legal Services Exemption—CRS § 12-14.5-202(10).

The Supreme Court examined the legal services exemption in the Uniform Debt-Management Services Act (UDMSA) to determine whether the original version of the exemption applies to Morgan Drexen, Inc., a company of non-lawyers. The Court also analyzed whether the amended version of the exemption violates the separation of powers doctrine in the Colorado Constitution and the Commerce Clause and Privileges and Immunities Clause in the U.S. Constitution because certain out-of-state attorneys may be subject to regulation under the UDMSA.

The Court held that the trial court erred by concluding that Morgan Drexen’s services fall within the scope of the legal services exemption in the original UDMSA, CRS § 12-14.5-202(10)(A). The original exemption encompasses non-lawyer assistants; however, Morgan Drexen’s activity here does not fall within the scope of that exemption because it performs substantive debt-management services without meaningful instruction and supervision by an attorney. The Court also held that the amended UDMSA does not violate the separation of powers doctrine in Article III of the Colorado Constitution or the Commerce and Privileges and Immunities Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The Court reversed the trial court’s order and remanded that case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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

Colorado Supreme Court: Laches Defense Does Not Conflict with Statute of Limitations

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hickerson v. Vessels on Monday, January 13, 2014.

Statute of Limitations—CRS § 13-80-103.5(1)(a)—Partial Payment Doctrine—Laches.

The Supreme Court held that the separation of powers doctrine does not bar application of the defense of laches to a debt collection action filed within the original or restarted six-year statute of limitations period. Laches does not conflict with the plain meaning of the relevant statute of limitations, nor does it conflict with the partial payment doctrine, which is a creature of Colorado common law. Since early statehood, Colorado case law has recognized the application of equitable remedies to legal claims. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the case for consideration of issues it did not reach.

Summary and full case available here.