Judge Robert A. Rand, County Court Judge in Loveland Colorado was publicly censured and agreed to resign effective March 31, 2014. He entered into a Stipulated Resolution with Special Counsel pursuant to Rule 37(d) of the Colorado Rules of Judicial Discipline, which stated in part that Judge Rand engaged in undignified conduct including making comments about the physical appearance of people appearing before him and other inappropriate comments, and engaged in ex parte communications with parties or counsel. Pursuant to Colo. RJD 6.5(a), and “finding no good cause for the stipulated resolution to remain confidential or the record of proceedings to be sealed as permitted by Colo. RJD 40,” the Court made the stipulated resolution and the record of proceedings public.
Tag Archives: Ethics
“Integrity has no need of rules.” Albert Camus. There is no question that paying a testifying witness a contingent fee based on the outcome of the case is prohibited. But such evidence is not excluded per se. The court of appeals came to that conclusion because trial courts have discretion to admit testimony generally. Next, the court of appeals determined that the paid witness was properly permitted to summarize evidence already admitted into the record without violating CRE 602. Similarly, the witness’s summary exhibits were properly admitted, again because they were based on admitted evidence. Moving on, it held that a nonparty at fault could not be designated based on vicarious liability alone. The court then upheld the trial court’s decisions 1) to deny a directed verdict on a fraud claim and the economic loss rule and, 2) found a CRE 701 objection was not preserved for appeal.
“We all get a second chance; it’s called tomorrow.” Anon. Moye White (MW) represented David Beren in probate litigation. MW employed and assigned to Beren’s case an attorney with a past of disciplinary proceedings, mental illness, alcoholism, and related arrests. MW sued Beren for its attorneys’ fees; Beren counterclaimed for breach of fiduciary duty claiming he should have been told about the attorney’s history. The court of appeals disagreed; a law firm does not have a duty to disclose such history to a client. Any risk posed by an attorney’s past conduct is speculative, and therefore not material. For the same reason, no ethical duty to disclose such information exists under professional conduct rules 1.4 or 7.1. The court of appeals also upheld costs awarded MW for uploading documents into a document review platform and costs incurred after a pretrial offer of settlement.
This $1,000 county court case involves an award of $185,000 in attorneys’ fees. It started as a Fair Debt Collection Act claim. It resulted in 2 trips to the Supreme Court. On the first trip, plaintiff’s counsel paid appellate counsels’ fees. The Court found for the plaintiff and remanded for a fee award. On remand, the trial court’s fee award included the appellate attorneys’ fees. The debt collector, MAB, argued those fees, paid by trial counsel, were unethical financial assistance to a client. This time, the Court made 3 findings: 1) MAB had standing to assert an ethical violation as a non-client; 2) trial counsels’ payment of appellate counsel fees was a permitted advance of litigation expenses and not financial assistance to a client; and 3) non-compliance with the Appeals Court’s fee application rules did not bar the fee award because they don’t apply to District Court appeals.