Good, bad or otherwise, the Colorado General Assembly killed 11 of 14 bills with a direct impact on Colorado’s civil justice liability system during the recently-concluded 2015 session.
Eleven proposals that died included six opposed by Colorado Civil Justice League and five that CCJL supported. Of the three bills that passed, House Bill 1063 (restrictions on patent trolling) was the lone measure to limit liability by imposing restrictions on frivolous attempts to extract patent infringement settlements. Two other bills actually expanded liability by lowering the bar for lawsuits against schools following incidents of school violence (Senate Bill 213) and by creating a new private right of action against hospitals for procedural errors related to liens (Senate Bill 265).
The House of Representatives killed two bills aimed at restoring some measure of sanity to construction litigation (Senate Bills 91 and 177). It also struck down two attempts to reduce employment lawsuits, killing Senate Bill 69, which would have repealed the 2013 “Sue Your Boss Bill” and House Bill 1172, that repealed punitive damages from the 2013 law.
On the other hand, the House did kill several bills that would have expanded liability. House Judiciary killed a bill that would have prohibited courts from using the laches doctrine to bar untimely claims (House Bill 1272). House State Affairs killed the “Homeless Right to Sue” proposal (House Bill 1264). The latest proposal to mandate that employees pay for family leave insurance (House Bill 1258) died following debate on the House floor, and a bill to employees to tamper with employer personnel files (House Bill 1342) also came up short.
Senators advanced bills on construction claims and employee lawsuits – only to see them die in the House – and passed the patent trolling bill. However, the Senate’s passage of bills expanding school liability and creating a new private right of action against hospitals handed trial lawyers their only outright victories.
HB 1063 – Restrictions on “patent trolling” – CCJL: SUPPORT – Passed; on Governor’s desk.
HB 1154 – No fee on tax portion of credit card transaction – CCJL: OPPOSE; NEUTRAL after amendment – Killed in House Finance.
HB 1172 – Repeal punitive damages in employment lawsuits – CCJL: SUPPORT – Killed in House Judiciary.
HB 1216 – Expert testimony Daubert standard – CCJL: SUPPORT – Killed in House Judiciary.
HB 1258 – Mandatory family leave insurance – CCJL: OPPOSE – Killed in House.
HB 1264 – Homeless right to sue – CCJL: OPPOSE – Killed in House State Affairs.
HB 1272 – Prohibit laches doctrine – CCJL: OPPOSE – Killed in House Judiciary.
HB 1342 – Employee access to personnel file – CCJL: OPPOSE – Killed in House.
SB 69 – Repeal Sue Your Boss Bill – CCJL: SUPPORT – Passed Senate; Killed in House State Affairs.
SB 91 – Construction claims reduce statute of limitations – CCJL: SUPPORT – Passed Senate; Killed in House State Affairs.
SB 177 – Construction litigation – CCJL: SUPPORT – Passed Senate; Killed in House State Affairs.
SB 213 – Expand litigation school violence – CCJL: OPPOSE – Passed; on Governor’s desk.
SB 265 – Expand litigation hospital liens – CCJL: OPPOSE unless amended – Passed; on Governor’s desk.
SB 275 – Legislator access to confidential information – CCJL: OPPOSE – Killed in Senate.