The general life cycle of civil litigation: Complaint, Answer, Disclosures, Discovery, Trial. In this case, before the court would allow full discovery, it required the plaintiffs to provide prima facie evidence to support their toxic tort allegations of exposure, injury, and causation arising from the proximity of natural gas drilling operations near their home. Finding the plaintiffs’ evidence lacking, the court dismissed their case entirely. The court of appeals reversed holding that the modified case management order issued by the trial court was not authorized by CRCP 16. The Court agreed, “tapping the brakes,” as the dissent describes it, on active case management. The Court held that CRCP 16, in the context of Rules like 12, 37, and 56, does not authorize a court to fashion its own summary judgment-like filter and dismiss claims during the early stages of litigation.
Tag Archives: Judgment
William G. Strudley and Beth E. Strudley v. Antero Resources Corporation, Antero Resources Piceance Corporation, Calfrac Well Services Corporation, and Frontier Drilling, LLC, 2015CO26 (April 20, 2015)
Westin Operator, LLC v. Jillian Groh, through her guardians and conservators William and Janelle Groh, 2015CO25 (April 13, 2015)
“A reasonable person could foresee that a group of intoxicated individuals evicted from a hotel might be involved in a drunk driving accident that causes injuries.” Opinion. The Court affirmed the court of appeals’ ruling that hotels owe guests a duty of care not to evict them into a foreseeably dangerous environment, taking into account the guest’s physical state and the conditions into which she is evicted, including the time, surroundings and weather. Liability is limited by challenging the causal connection to the injury or by blaming other contributing factors. Whether an act caused an injury is fact-specific making summary judgment for the hotel improper. The dissent agreed the duty existed. But here, the plaintiff walked past two taxis. If the availability of alternative transportation is not sufficient to grant summary judgment for the hotel, then all cases go to a jury.
Marilyn Marks v. Gessler, Colorado Secretary of State and Judd Choate, [Director of Elections], 2013COA115 (Aug. 1, 2013)
Move it or lose it. That is the general principle when it comes to litigation. But in this case, the trial court overlooked a fully-briefed pending motion and prematurely closed the case without proper notice to claimant. 13 months later, claimant filed a renewed motion. A new trial judge held the delay was too long, lacked mitigating circumstances, and was unexcused because it could have contacted or reminded the court about the pending motion. The judge dismissed the case. The court of appeals reversed, and though affirming the principles upon which the trial court relied — that a claimant has an affirmative duty to pursue pending motions and a duty to inquire about inaction — held the trial court abused its discretion because the claimant was not obligated to renew or remind the court about the pending motion, and had it done so, risked irritating the court. The case was reinstated.
Jason L. Rodgers and James R. Hazel v. Board of County Commissioners of Summit County, 2013COA61 (April 25, 2013)
“Plaintiffs … a same-sex couple, primarily contend the County treated them differently from heterosexual couples when interpreting and enforcing [septic] regulations.” (Opinion). Plaintiffs sued. The trial court dismissed some claims and granted a partial directed verdict by removing certain “actions” from a single claim under 42 USC 1983 (1983). The court of appeals reversed in part, holding that under CRCP 50, a trial court can’t parse evidence supporting a single claim against a single defendant. But it affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of 1) an inverse condemnation claim (taking property through regulation) because the regulations did not rise to the level of a taking, 2) a discrimination claim not brought to the Civil Rights Commission as required, and 3) a direct constitutional challenge because 1983, CRCP 106, and CRS 24-10-118 provide alternate remedies.