More lawsuits, fewer jobs.

Frivolous lawsuits hurt everyone. They increase the cost of everything Colorado families purchase. They suppress wages paid to Colorado workers. They waste time, increase stress, and hamper innovation and productivity at Colorado businesses.

Tell Us >>

Tell Us Your Lawsuit Story.

Everyone is hurt by frivolous lawsuits: through lower wages, lost jobs, and higher prices. Have a story about how you or your business have been affected? Let us know!

Tell Us >>

More lawsuits, fewer jobs.

Frivolous lawsuits hurt everyone. They increase the cost of everything Colorado families purchase. They suppress wages paid to Colorado workers. They waste time, increase stress, and hamper innovation and productivity at Colorado businesses.

Tell Us >>

Tell Us Your Lawsuit Story.

Everyone is hurt by frivolous lawsuits: through lower wages, lost jobs, and higher prices. Have a story about how you or your business have been affected? Let us know!

Tell Us >>

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CCJL announces Common Sense legislator awards

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 and protecting working families from the cost of frivolous litigation.

Awards will be presented at CCJL’s Legislative Awards Luncheon on Friday, Oct. 11, 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 harmed by someone else, balanced by fairness for those who may be wrongfully accused,” said CCJL executive director Mark Hillman.

Although legislators passed several bills in 2019 that will increase the costs of risks of lawsuits, they also served notice that they won’t automatically support every legislative whim that will expand unnecessary litigation.

“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,” Hillman said.

Common Sense in the Courtroom Award recipients include:

• Representatives Jeni Arndt (Fort Collins), Mark Baisley (Roxborough Park), Susan Beckman (Littleton), Adrienne Benavidez (Denver), Shannon Bird (Westminster), Bri Buentello (Pueblo), Terri Carver (Colorado Springs), Marc Catlin (Montrose), Alec Garnett (Denver), Tim Geitner (Falcon), Matt Gray (Broomfield), Chris Hansen (Denver), Leslie Herod (Denver), Edie Hooton (Boulder), Steve Humphrey (Severance), Tracy Kraft-Tharp (Arvada), Lois Landgraf (Colorado Springs), Colin Larson (Littleton), Kimmi Lewis (Kim), Larry Liston (Colorado Springs), Hugh McKean (Loveland), Patrick Neville (Franktown), Rod Pelton (Cheyenne Wells), Kim Ransom (Douglas County), Janice Rich (Grand Junction), Lori Saine (Firestone), Shane Sandridge (Colorado Springs), Matt Soper (Delta), Kerry Tipper (Lakewood), Kevin Van Winkle (Highlands Ranch), Perry Will (New Castle), Dave Williams (Colorado Springs) and Jim Wilson (Salida).

• Senators Jeff Bridges (Greenwood Village), John Cooke (Greeley), Don Coram (Montrose), Larry Crowder (Alamosa), Bob Gardner (Colorado Springs), Owen Hill (Colorado Springs), Dennis Hisey (Fountain), Chris Holbert (Parker), Paul Lundeen (Monument), Vickie Marble (Fort Collins), Brittany Pettersen (Lakewood), Kevin Priola (Brighton), Bob Rankin (Snowmass Village), Ray Scott (Grand Junction), Jim Smallwood (Parker), Jerry Sonnenberg (Sterling), Nancy Todd (Aurora), Rob Woodward (Loveland) and Rachel Zenzinger (Arvada).

This year’s luncheon is sponsored by COPIC, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, Colorado Hospital Association, State Farm, HuschBlackwell, Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors, American Furniture Warehouse.

Lawmakers selective on litigation in 2019 session

Although legislators passed several bills that will increase the costs and risks of lawsuits, they also served notice that they won’t automatically support every legislative whim that will expand unnecessary litigation.

Even before the General Assembly convened in January, the stability of Colorado’s lawsuit climate was at a perilous point, ranked 35th among the 50 states – an all-time low.  Other national groups worried about the growing unpredictability of our courts.

Numerous bills sought to create new opportunities for lawsuits, but many of those were subsequently modified.  A few others failed when legislative support withered.

Consequently, Colorado Civil Justice League grades the legislature at a “C” for its 2019 session.

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Equal pay shouldn’t treat employers like the enemy

Equal pay for equal work isn’t just a laudable goal. It’s basic fairness, so Colorado law can certainly require it of employers.

On the other hand, Senate Bill 85, as originally introduced by Sen. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, didn’t focus on basic fairness. Instead, it contained rigid rules and “gotcha” litigation traps that doom Colorado employers to failure, then punish them with costly lawsuits for violations that have nothing to do with discrimination.

For example, each of the following would have constituted unlawful discrimination under the introduced bill:

  • •A male hotel clerk in Aspen is paid more than a female hotel clerk in Akron – not because one is male and the other female, but due to differences in the cost-of-living.
  • •A female nurse is paid more to work the graveyard shift than a male nurse who works days. That’s because one is paid more to work undesirable hours.
  • •A company has a hard time recruiting employees to work in remote parts of the state, so they pay a male sales representative more to work in Springfield than a female doing the same job in Greeley. Employers sometimes pay more for hard-to-fill positions.

These are all legitimate reasons for paying different salaries and have nothing to do with whether the employee is male or female.

At the bill’s first hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee, some practical concerns raised by Colorado employers were addressed. For example, amendments to the bill clarified that liquidated damages could not be imposed if an employer acts in good faith. Also, pay differentials based on geography would be allowed. But much work remains.

Senate Bill 85 still allows an employee to bring a lawsuit without ever filing a formal complaint with a neutral party, such as the Department of Labor (which typically handles wage disputes) or the Civil Rights Commission (which hears claims of unlawful discrimination).

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Legislative Update

Nearly one month into the 2019 legislative session, CCJL is keeping a close eye on bills that would create new lawsuits or impose new costs on Colorado businesses and the working families who rely on them.

Here’s a look at emerging bills and issues:

Criminal History of Job Applicants – House Bill 1025 (sponsored by Reps. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and Jovan Melton, D-Aurora) prohibits employers from excluding people with a criminal history from applying for a job opening. It does not say that employers can’t consider someone’s criminal history, only that those applicants cannot be automatically excluded from applying. Commendably, the bills’ sponsors did not create a new “right to sue” (aka private right of action) as the enforcement mechanism, instead relying on a state agency to investigate possible violations. This is a procedure that others should emulate if they truly wish to address a perceived problem rather than create incentives for more litigation.

Homeless Right to Sue – HB 1096 (Rep. Melton) is the latest iteration of the so-called Right-to-Rest Act. The bill targets local government ordinances which regulate when and where people are allowed to sleep or camp on public sidewalks, in parks or on other public property. It also compares such ordinances to “cruel and unusual punishment” and allows for enforcement via lawsuit.

Add District Court Judges – Senate Bill 43 (Sen. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs) adds 15 new district court judges in several judicial districts around the state. Given the increased demands on our state’s court system, CCJL supports this bill as a means of ensuring that legitimate claims can be handled without needless expense or delay.

Pay Disparites – SB 85 (Sen. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood) is advertised as “equal pay for equal work.” That’s a worthy goal, but the text of the bill, as introduced, sets too many “litigation traps” by treating every conceivable pay disparity as evidence of discrimination – and grounds for a lawsuit. For example, the bill doesn’t recognize that an employer with offices in Vail, Colorado Springs and Akron has a legitimate reason to pay a different salary to managers at those locations based on the vastly disparate costs-of-living in those communities. Another serious concern is that the bill completely eliminates the authority of the Department of Labor to investigate and enforce wage discrimination claims and turns that authority over to the civil litigation system with privately-hired attorneys acting on behalf of aggrieved employees. The bill also creates significant, additional burdens for businesses in terms of job posting requirements and record keeping. (more…)