CCJL takes position on SBs 53, 88 and HB 1173

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Colorado Civil Justice League, the state's advocate for limiting lawsuit abuse, this week staked out its position on three bills:

Senate Bill 53 - Asbestos Litigation Transparency - SUPPORT

By requiring transparency between health care claims due to asbestos-related illness submitted in state courts and those submitted to asbestos bankruptcy trusts, the bill seeks to prevent "double-recovery" by unscrupulous plaintiffs and helps to assure the solvency of the trusts for those with future claims of asbestos-related illness. This legislation accelerates timelines for court proceedings to the benefit of plaintiffs with legitimate claims. Contrary to testimony in committee, this legislation is good for veterans, and similar legislation in Congress is supported by the American Legion.

Senate Bill 88 - Health Care Network Selection - OPPOSE

House Bill 1173 - Health Care Provider/Carrier Contracts - OPPOSE

CCJL's primary concern with both of these bills are their potential to increase litigation and interference with freedom of contract.

As introduced, SB 88 restricts freedom of contract between insurers and health care providers by creating additional contractual prohibitions in state statute. Further, after writing these provisions into statute, the bill defines these contractual violations as "unfair or deceptive trade practice(s)" - akin to false advertising or knowingly making false statements - inviting new opportunities for litigation. HB 1173 would seem to protect slanderous comments if provided as testimony to a governmental body or as "any other public activity in any forum." After inviting new litigation, the bill provides for one-way recovery of court costs and attorney fees (only for a prevailing plaintiff).

CCJL believes that contractual matters between private parties should be resolved privately and disputes resolved by negotiation rather than litigation.


CCJL announces support for bills to address construction litigation costs

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Supports Senate Bills 45 & 156

Recognizing the importance of addressing Colorado's construction litigation problem, Colorado Civil Justice League is supporting both Senate Bill 45 (sponsored by Sen. Angela Williams, Senate President Kevin Grantham, Rep. Cole Wist and Speaker Crisanta Duran) and Senate Bill 156 (sponsored by Sen. Owen Hill, Rep. Lori Saine and Rep. Cole Wist).

"Both of these bills represent small steps toward resolving known factors that drive up construction costs and make homeownership unaffordable," stated CCJL executive director Mark Hillman.

"Neither bill is a panacea, and both may require amendment. However, it is vitally important to keep all potential solutions moving forward."

CCJL commends the sponsors of these bills for engaging in bipartisan efforts to help homeowners obtain satisfaction when they encounter a legitimate construction defect and to help contractors and subcontractors find relief from runaway litigation costs.



Colorado Supreme Court called 'point of light' for plausibility decision

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A decision by the Colorado Supreme Court to adopt the federal plausibility pleading standard in civil litigation earned a rare "point-of-light" designation from the American Tort Reform Association in its annual Judicial Hellholes report, which routinely excoriates the worst examples of state courts stretching the law, logic and common sense to advance frivolous lawsuits.

In a 4-3 decision authored by Justice Nathan Coats, the court dismissed a plaintiff's lawsuit for "failure to state a plausible claim for relief." Under the former "notice pleading" standard, plaintiffs were not required to state a plausible claim.

Think about that for a minute. Prior to this decision, a lawsuit could continue even if the plaintiff's claim was not plausible.

"It's regrettable that this common sense decision resulted in a 4-3 split on the high court," stated Mark Hillman, executive director of Colorado Civil Justice League which advocates for "common sense in the courtroom."

Joining Justice Coats in the majority were Chief Justice Nancy Rice and Justices Allison Eid and Brian Boatright. Dissenting were Justices Richard Gabriel, William Hood III and Monica Marquez.

CCJL submitted a friend-of-the-court brief - authored jointly by Jordan Lipp and Geoffrey Klingsporn of Davis Graham & Stubbs and by Evan Stephenson and Thomas Werge of Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell - in support of the plausibility standard.