Legislators chosen for 'Common Sense' Awards

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

DENVER — Colorado Civil Justice League has announced winners of its Common Sense in the Courtroom Awards, given to state legislators who have demonstrated a commitment to curtailing lawsuit abuse. 

Awards will be presented at CCJL’s Legislative Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 20, at the Denver Four Seasons. Tickets are available at www.CCJL.org.

CCJL is the only organization in Colorado exclusively dedicated to stopping lawsuit abuse while preserving a system of civil justice that fairly compensates legitimate victims.

“Common Sense in the Courtroom requires justice for those who have been wronged, balanced by fairness for those who may be wrongfully accused,” said CCJL executive director Mark Hillman.

A highlight of the 2017 legislative session was the passage of House Bill 1279 which addressed construction litigation by ensuring that homeowners are fully informed of costs and risks of litigation and given a formal voice in determining whether to initiate a lawsuit to resolve alleged defective construction.

“The most encouraging development this year is the growing coalition of legislators who value economic growth for all Coloradans above the narrow interests of personal injury lawyers and a handful of plaintiffs,” Hillman added.

"At CCJL, we are grateful for the bipartisan support of legislators who understand the importance of an efficient and balanced court system to our state's economy," said Jeff Weist, CCJL legislative director.

Common Sense in the Courtroom Award recipients include:

  • Representatives Jeni Arndt (Fort Collins), Jon Becker (Fort Morgan), Susan Beckman (Littleton), Perry Buck (Greeley), Terri Carver (Colorado Springs), Marc Catlin (Montrose), Phil Covarrubias (Brighton), Justin Everett (Littleton), Matt Gray (Broomfield), Leslie Herod (Denver), Edie Hooton (Boulder), Steve Humphrey (Eaton), Tracy Kraft-Tharp (Arvada), Lois Landgraf (Fountain), Polly Lawrence (Douglas County), Tim Leonard (Evergreen), Kimmi Lewis (Kim), Larry Liston (Colorado Springs), Paul Lundeen (Monument), Hugh McKean (Loveland), Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff (Pueblo West), Patrick Neville (Franktown), Dan Nordberg (Colorado Springs), Bob Rankin (Carbondale), Kim Ransom (Douglas County), Lori Saine (Firestone), Lang Sias (Arvada), Dan Thurlow (Grand Junction), Don Valdez (La Jara), Kevin Van Winkle (Highlands Ranch), Yeulin Willett (Grand Junction), David Williams (Colorado Springs), Jim Wilson (Salida) and Cole Wist (Centennial).
  • Senators Randy Baumgardner (Hot Sulphur Springs), John Cooke (Greeley), Don Coram (Montrose), Larry Crowder (Alamosa), Bob Gardner (Colorado Springs), Kevin Grantham (Canon City), Owen Hill (Colorado Springs), Chris Holbert (Parker), Beth Martinez Humenik (Thornton), Cheri Jahn (Wheat Ridge), Kent Lambert (Colorado Springs), Dominic Moreno (Commerce City), Kevin Priola (Brighton), Ray Scott (Grand Junction), Jim Smallwood (Castle Rock), Jerry Sonnenberg (Sterling), Jack Tate (Centennial), Nancy Todd (Aurora), Angela Williams (Denver), Rachel Zenzinger (Arvada).

    Tickets on sale now for Legislative Awards Luncheon

    Thursday, September 07, 2017

    DENVER - Tickets are now available for CCJL's Legislative Awards Luncheon on Friday, Oct. 20, at the Denver Four Seasons, where Colorado's business community will recognize state lawmakers for their commitment to "Common Sense in the Courtroom." 

    Featured speaker at this year's event is Malini Moorthy, head of global litigation for Bayer Corporation, who will speak about "The Mass Tort Machine." Moorthy is a nationally recognized expert in civil justice reform and complex litigation in the life sciences industry. Last year, she was named a Visionary Leader in Litigation by Inside Counsel magazine. She was also recognized by the National Center for Law and Economic Justice for her extraordinary service to the legal profession and nonprofit community.

    Prior to joining Bayer, Malini headed the Civil Litigation Group at Pfizer where she and her team were awarded in-house Counsel Litigation Team of the Year by Benchmark Litigation. Earlier, she worked as a litigation associate at law firms in the U.S. and Canada, including the New York office of Salans, now known a Dentons.

    Tickets can be purchased HERE.


    General Assembly gets 'B' grade for 2017

    Monday, May 22, 2017

    With one notable exception, the Colorado General Assembly's 2017 session preserved the status quo - which isn't the worst outcome, given the potential of certain bills to wreak havoc upon Colorado's litigation climate.

    So, Colorado Civil Justice League rates the Legislature's performance as a "B," with it's passage of House Bill 1279, addressing construction litigation, as the notable achievement.

    Sponsored by Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver), Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), Sen. Jack Tate (R-Centennial) and Sen. Lucia Guzman (D-Denver), HB 1279 was the product of many hours of work including a much larger coalition of lawmakers from both parties, as well as advocates representing homeowners and homebuilders.

    While not as ambitious as we might have hoped, the bill nonetheless moves the ball forward by ensuring that homeowners are fully informed of costs and risks and given a formal voice in determining whether to initiate litigation to resolve alleged defective construction.

    Anything that makes it more difficult for a cadre of plaintiffs attorneys to steamroll HOA members down the path toward litigation is an improvement over the status quo, which has construction of multi-family owner-occupied projects crawling at a snail's pace.

    The bill didn't specifically address affordability of contractor's liability insurance or the rampant litigation that ensues between developers and subcontractors when a construction lawsuit is filed. One school of thought says that HB 1279 will help with insurance affordability by making claims more predictable for underwriters. A more skeptical outlook is that the cost of litigation will continue to drive up insurance costs until those issues are specifically addressed. Only time will tell which viewpoint is more accurate.

    Building on the success of HB 1279, the most encouraging development from this session is the growing coalition of legislators who value economic growth for all Coloradans above the narrow interests of personal injury lawyers and a handful of plaintiffs.

    Bipartisan votes were instrumental in advancing worthwhile bills or defeating others that invited further lawsuit abuse.

    The Senate passed - with bipartisan support - a package of bills to help consumers control the rising cost of automobile insurance, only to see those bills fail in the House. However, key Representatives stood up to vote against, and sometimes defeat, destructive legislation that would have eroded Colorado's safeguards against runaway jury awards for "pain and suffering" or other non-economic damages and subjected schools, nonprofits, businesses and local governments to increased litigation for various claims.

    A complete list of bills related to Colorado's civil justice system appears below, followed by a link to each bill's summary and legislative history.