“The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intention.” (Anonymous). Here, MLM paid an accident victim’s medical bills in exchange for an assignment of settlement funds, if any. MLM gave notice of the assignment to the tortfeasor’s insurer Allstate, who then settled. Allstate paid the victim instead of MLM. MLM sued Allstate for breach of both the settlement contract and the assignment. The trial court dismissed MLM’s claims. The court of appeals reversed, holding: 1) personal injury claims may be validly assigned prior to settlement, as they were here; 2) the notice of assignment was sufficient and triggered Allstate’s duty to pay MLM, despite its lack of consent; and 3) because the victim had a claim against Allstate, MLM had a claim. Finally, the court rejected a request to apply the Federal pleading standards in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly. Dismissal reversed.
Tag Archives: CRCP 8
Raptor Education Foundation, Inc., v. Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles, 2012COA219 (December 27, 2012)
The individual freedom to contract, enshrined in the US and Colorado Constitutions and known as the Contract Clause, can add another case to its storied history – specialty license plates. In 2000, the Raptor Education Foundation contracted with the Department of Revenue for the exclusive right to buy a specialty plate. In 2002, the Department was court-ordered to sell the plates only to members of the REF. In 2009, the Legislature amended the law (CRS 42-3-208) to allow non-REF members to buy the plates. The REF sued. The court of appeals, after finding that the constitutional challenge could be addressed even though it was not raised in a pleading, struck down the legislation as unconstitutional. The law violated the Contracts Clause because it was not directed at a general social problem and was an unforeseeable substantial impairment to the existing contractual relationship.
A public hospital can wantonly kill but can’t be sued. In this case, a patient goes to CU’s hospital for monitoring of his epileptic seizures. Concerned, his family asks if they should stay with him. A staff member told them the patient would be monitored full time. He wasn’t, suffered a seizure, and died. The family sued and claimed the hospital and its employees consciously disregarded the danger. The court of appeals held that the hospital itself was immune from suit under the CGIA, even if it acted in a willful and wanton manner; its employees, though, were not immune. But wanton conduct must be alleged with specific facts (“upon information and belief” is fine) showing the defendant was consciously aware of a danger and acted or failed to act without regard for that danger. Here, only allegations against a doctor were sufficient and could go forward. All other claims were dismissed.