“In choosing Boulder, the plaintiffs may well have engaged in ‘forum shopping’ … But Rule 98 (c)(1) does not restrict the plaintiff’s choice of venue when the defendant is a nonresident…” Opinion. Relying on its opinion in Sampson v. District Court, 590 P2d 958 (1979), and approving an exemplar affidavit in Dep’t Highways v District Court, 635 P2d 889 (1981), the Supreme Court reversed three trial court orders transferring venue. It held that Boulder was a proper venue and that Defendant Farmers Insurance did not provide sufficient evidentiary support for its request to change venue. Defendant failed to 1) focus on the convenience of non-moving party witnesses and 2) submitted inadequate affidavits that did not contain in sufficient detail: a) witness identity, b) the nature, materiality and admissibility of testimony, and c) how the change would affect the witnesses.
Tag Archives: CAR 21
“[D]elay in service… cannot be found reasonable simply because the plaintiff made diligent efforts to locate the defendant.” Opinion. Malm filed her personal injury complaint in 2005, one month before the 3-year time limitation ended. In 2013, Malm found Villegas in Germany, and the District Court reopened the case noting the lack of a rule stating a reasonable time for service in a foreign country. Villegas opposed, arguing that the failure to serve her sooner was an unreasonable delay amounting to a failure to prosecute. The Court held that a delay between filing and service of a complaint beyond the statute of limitations is reasonable only if it is the product of either wrongful conduct by the defendant or some formal impediment to service. Without any facts that Villegas deliberately avoided service, the District Court should have dismissed the case for failure to prosecute.
DISCLAIMER: The Author was an attorney on the brief for Petitioner Malm. Andy Helm assisted in the writing of this post.
In Re: Colorado Medical Board v. Office of Administrative Courts; Matthew E. Norwood, ALJ, and Polly Train, MD, 2014CO51 (June 23, 2014)
Jeopardy – Answer: a “subpoena” is different from “discovery,” but an “administrative hearing or proceeding” is the same as a “civil suit.” Question – why does CRS 12-36.5-104, establishing the peer review privilege, extend to a subpoena issued in an administrative proceeding? Reviewing this question pursuant to CAR 21, the Court held that the privilege protects all the records of a professional review committee from all subpoenas and all discovery, and renders such records inadmissible in civil suits including administrative proceedings of an adjudicatory nature. In this case, a doctor was denied a Colorado medical license and appealed the denial. She sought certain Letters of Concern issued by the Medical Board. An ALJ issued a subpoena for the letters. The Board objected and then appealed via CRCP 106 and CRS 24-4-106. Because the records were protected, the Board won.
In Re: Gateway Logistics, Inc. and Gateway Freight Solutions, Inc. v. Christopher Smay, Republic Cargo, and Republic Freight, 2013CO25 (April 15, 2013)
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” – George Orwell. In this interlocutory appeal, the Court reviewed an order by the trial court to allow the plaintiffs to inspect personal and business computers, smartphones, other electronic devices belonging to the lead Defendant (and his wife, who is not a party to the case), and approximately three years of defendants’ telephone records. The Court, making the rule absolute (reversing the trial court and remanding the case) held: 1) the assertion of privacy requires a trial court to apply the balancing test in In Re District Court and failing to do so is an abuse of discretion; 2) people have a privacy interest in their electronically stored information and their telephone records; and 3) a nonparty’s status as such must be considered. Here, the trial court failed to apply the balancing test and was ordered to do so.
In Re Emily Liebnow v. Boston Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Giacomo’s, U.S. Foodservice, Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods, Inc. et. al.
“The closed mouth catches no flies” – B. Franklin. This case involves the disqualification of an entire firm based on an unwaivable conflict of interest. Defense counsel had a friendly relationship with an out-of-state plaintiff’s Firm specializing in e-coli cases and consulted with a lawyer at the Firm about an e-coli case. Defense counsel followed some of his advice. In the same case, Plaintiff hired a different lawyer from the same Firm. The trial court denied pro hac vice admission, effectively disqualifying the Firm. The Court upheld the trial court’s ruling that under the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) an unwaivable conflict was created under RPC 1.7, and that RPC 1.10 imputed that conflict to the entire firm. The Court also held that RPC 1.7 conflicts apply to third parties, and here the conflict was unwaivable becase it undermined the fairness of the proceedings.
In Re Stacy Warden and Chris Warden as representatives of Noah Warden, a minor child v. Exempla, Inc. d/b/a Exempla Healthcare, et. al., 2012CO74 (December 20, 2012)
As we have re-discovered, after a tragedy people look for a cause. In this medical malpractice case, a baby was born with brain damage after being deprived of oxygen. The parents claim the cause was failure to monitor the baby during birth; the hospital claims the damage preceded labor. Three of Plaintiff’s experts were excluded. The Court reversed the exclusions. The first expert was excluded because she did not respond to Defendants’ experts. The Court disagreed, as she might refute Defendants’ theory of causation which relied heavily on a study she critiqued. Two experts addressing the child’s life expectancy were excluded as an “ambush.” The testimony should have been initially disclosed, but the delay was harmless because: 1) the trial is months away, 2) the importance to Plaintiff’s claim, 3) Defendants’ own experts raised the defense, and 4) lack of evidence of bad faith.
Families fragmented across state lines make child-custody determinations hard. In this case, a family brought their 4-year-old daughter to Colorado from Oregon. In less than 6 months, the family broke up, and the child eventually ended up out-of-state. The trial court found that based on the intent of the parents to indefinitely reside in Colorado, it had jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed because parental intent is not the proper test. Instead, the UCCJEA provides the exclusive jurisdictional basis for child-custody decisions. That framework starts with an analysis of “home state” jurisdiction. If no state has home state jurisdiction, there are 3 alternative tests for jurisdiction in Colorado: 1) “significant connection,” 2) “more appropriate forum,” or 3) “last resort.” Here, the trial court did not properly apply the UCCJEA, so the case was remanded to do so.
Divorces can get pretty contentious, with everyone looking for an advantage. In this case, Father gets Mother’s employment file from an old employer by issuing a subpoena duces tecum under CRCP 45. It takes one hour to get the file, but three days to give Mother notice of the subpoena. Subpoenaed documents are often produced in advance, and the appearance of the person subpoenaed is then waived. The Court did not rebuke that practice so long as all the parties and the subpoenaed witness consents. Otherwise, the Court held, documents may only be produced at the designated deposition, hearing, or trial. This requirement is not dependant upon the documents being confidential or privileged because the interest being protected is the right to notice and an opportunity to object prior to production. Here, Father’s attorney faces potential sanctions for her violation of CRCP 45.
Suing a foreigner in Colorado can mean serving the complaint on a defendant in another country. The UN Convention on Service Abroad, through CRCP 4(d), offers one method for international service. But it is not the only one. In this original proceeding under Rule 21, the Supreme Court offers a rare interpretation of the relationship between international service under CRCP 4(d), and substitute service under CRCP 4(f). The trial court permitted substitute service on the defendant, who lived in Mexico, via his sister, who lived in Colorado, under CRCP 4(f). The defendant claimed that he must be served personally in Mexico under CRCP 4(d) and the Convention. The Court held those methods apply only when documents are “transmitted abroad.” None were because the defendant was served locally via his sister. Accordingly, service under CRCP 4(f) was sufficient and Constitutional.