March 24, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Colorado Taxpayer Status Does Not Provide Standing to Challenge Expenditure of Federal Funds for Family Planning Services

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Hotaling v. Hickenlooper on June 23, 2011.

Standing—Federal Funds—Colorado Taxpayer.

Plaintiff Mark Hotaling appealed the district court’s order dismissing his complaint challenging certain contracts entered into between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Department) and two entities that provide family planning services. The order was affirmed.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provided the funds at issue here to the state through two programs: the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and the nonabortion family planning services program. Pursuant to these programs, DHHS provides federal money to the Department, which must select grantees for the funds subject to federal limitations and requirements. The district court dismissed Hotaling’s complaint for lack of standing.

On appeal, Hotaling contended that the district court erred in concluding that he lacked Colorado taxpayer standing. Specifically, he argued that he had standing because he is a Colorado taxpayer and has alleged that the Department’s action to award the contracts at issue violates the Colorado Constitution. The Court of Appeals disagreed. Hotaling challenged an expenditure of federal funds—to which he has no connection as a Colorado taxpayer. Therefore, he did not suffer an injury-in-fact and lacked standing to challenge the contracts at issue.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on June 23, 2011, can be found here.