July 17, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Election Challenge Time-Barred When Filed and Equitable Tolling Did Not Apply

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in UMB Bank, N.A. v. Landmark Towers Association, Inc. on Monday, December 11, 2017.

Taxpayer Bill of Rights—Election Challenges—C.R.S. § 1-11-213(4)—Non-claim Statutes.

This case principally required the supreme court to determine whether the 10-day time limitation set forth in C.R.S. § 1-11-213(4) barred respondent homeowners association’s challenge to an election authorizing the issuance of bonds and the collection of debt pursuant to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Respondent contended that the election was invalid because its members were eligible electors, and these electors did not receive notice of the election and were not given an opportunity to vote in it. It is undisputed that respondent did not file its election challenge until more than three years after the statutory deadline. The question thus was whether respondent’s challenge could proceed, based on the equitable tolling doctrine or the exception for certain types of claims articulated in Cacioppo v. Eagle County School District Re-50J, 92 P.3d 453 (Colo. 2004). With regard to equitable tolling, the court concluded that C.R.S. § 1-11-213(4) is a non-claim statute. Accordingly, the doctrine of equitable tolling does not apply. As to Cacioppo, the court concluded that respondent’s claim is not a challenge to the substance of the ballot issue but rather is a challenge to the means by which the election results were obtained. The court thus concluded that respondent’s claim is subject to C.R.S. § 1-11-213(4)’s 10-day time limit and that its challenge to the bond and tax election at issue was time barred. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.