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 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!

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 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!

Legislators honored with ‘Common Sense’ awards for 2021

DENVER — Colorado Civil Justice League 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 small business and working families from the cost of frivolous litigation.

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.

Unfortunately, this year’s Colorado General Assembly passed several bills that will increase the costs and risks of lawsuits: expanding liability for agricultural employers (Senate Bill 87), enabling medical lien companies to hide the amounts they pay to providers for medical care (House Bill 1300), and creating additional liability risks for employers when someone is injured by an employee’s negligence (House Bill 1188).

However, state legislators also defeated a bill that would have allowed contingency fee attorneys to bring class action lawsuits under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and another to create the nation’s most draconian definition of a “hostile work environment.”

“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 economic health,” Hillman said.

Common Sense in the Courtroom Award recipients include:

Representatives Mark Baisley (Roxborough Park), Adrienne Benavidez (Commerce City), Shannon Bird (Westminster), Rod Bockenfeld (Watkins), Mary Bradfield (Colorado Springs), Terri Carver (Colorado Springs), Marc Catlin (Montrose), Speaker Alec Garnett (Denver), Tim Geitner (Peyton), Ron Hanks (Penrose), Richard Holtorf (Akron), Colin Larson (Littleton), Stephanie Luck (Penrose), Mike Lynch (Wellington), Hugh McKean (Loveland), Rod Pelton (Cheyenne Wells), Andy Pico (Colorado Springs), Kim Ranson (Douglas County), Janice Rich (Grand Junction), Shane Sandridge (Colorado Springs), Marc Snyder (Manitou Springs), Matt Soper (Delta), Kerry Tipper (Lakewood), Donald Valdez (La Jara), Tonya Van Beber (Eaton), Kevin Van Winkle (Highlands Ranch), Perry Will (New Castle), Dave Williams (Colorado Springs) and Dan Woog (Erie).

Senators John Cooke (Greeley), Rhonda Fields (Aurora), Bob Gardner (Colorado Springs), Chris Hansen (Denver), Dennis Hisey (Fountain), Chris Holbert (Parker), Larry Liston (Colorado Springs), Paul Lundeen (Monument), Kevin Priola (Brighton), Bob Rankin (Snowmass Village), Ray Scott (Grand Junction), Cleave Simpson (Alamosa), Jerry Sonnenberg (Sterling) and Rob Woodward (Loveland).

This year’s awards presentation is sponsored by American Furniture Warehouse, COPIC, Colorado Hospital Association, State Farm, Rocky Mountain Mechanical Contractors Association, Husch Blackwell, Spencer Fane and Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell.

CCJL to honor ‘Common Sense’ legislators at Oct. 28 event

Colorado Civil Justice League will recognize leading state legislators on Thursday, Oct. 28 during its annual Legislative Awards Luncheon at the Denver Four Seasons.  CCJL’s Common Sense In The Courtroom Awards are given to state legislators who have demonstrated a commitment to curtailing lawsuit abuse and protecting working families from the cost of frivolous litigation.

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. read more…

‘It could have been worse’ is no consolation to Colorado job creators

By Mark Hillman

When the Colorado General Assembly adjourned on June 8, small-business owners and job creators breathed a collective sigh of relief.

After suffering through COVID-related restrictions and closures for most of the previous 12 months, employers were hopeful that legislators would join in their efforts to help get the economy back on its feet.

Maybe legislators in another state, but not in Colorado in 2021.

Instead, when our neighborhood businesses were trying to reboot, they found themselves in the crosshairs of more than a dozen bills aimed at creating new opportunities for lawsuits or removing safeguards designed to protect against inflated claims.

This year, the legislature’s unstated but unmistakable message to business was, “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Six of the seven states that border Colorado have acted to protect their business owners from dubious COVID-related lawsuits.  Nationwide, 33 states have enacted such laws, and Democratic governors in Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin proudly signed them.

Colorado legislators introduced two similar bills.  Like many proposals, these efforts needed revisions to effectively accomplish their objective, but they were tailored to offer businesses the same protections state law already affords governments.  However, unlike many bills that were given time for improvements, both of these bills were snuffed out in their first committee hearing.

Meanwhile, lawmakers introduced a litany of legislation creating new opportunities for litigation against businesses.

House Bill 1188 overturned a decision by the Colorado Supreme Court in Ferrer v. Colorado Cab.  The court ruled that, once an employer has acknowledged its own liability for the injurious actions of an employee, additional claims against the employer for the same injury are “duplicative and unnecessary.”

Now that HB 1188 has been signed into law, plaintiffs’ attorneys will use it to inflate damage claims by picking apart, with 20/20 hindsight, everything an employer “should have done” better to train an employee.

Consider a 2014 case in which a fan attending a Kansas City Royals baseball game was struck in the eye by a hotdog thrown by the team mascot.  The fan suffered a detached retina.  Of course, the fan filed a claim for damages for his medical treatment, but he also sought additional damages by claiming the Royals had failed to train their mascot on how to “safely” throw hotdogs.  Expect similar claims in Colorado.

Senate Bill 87 creates opportunities for employees of farmers and ranchers to sue their employers by, among other things, creating a legal presumption against the farmer or rancher.  If the farmer or rancher cannot overcome the presumption that they unfairly retaliated against an employee, they face a minimum penalty of $10,000 per violation and must pay the employee’s attorney fees.  Ironically, there’s no corresponding requirement for an employee who files a losing lawsuit to pay the employer’s attorney fees.

The unintended consequence of SB 87 will be that once a few farmers or ranchers suffer the cost of trying to defend against these lawsuits, word will spread that it’s better to replace employees with automated equipment whenever possible to avoid the risk of litigation.

Proponents were warned about this result, but they rejected less adversarial solutions in favor of more lawsuits.

Fortunately, lawmakers defeated several other bills that threatened still more litigation either against employers in general or against specific industries.  But in most cases, sponsors of those defeated bills vowed to re-introduce them next year to fight for still more lawsuits against Colorado’s job creators.

Actually, there is one business that was treated exceptionally well this year at the State Capitol: plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Consumers and employers alike will pay a price for that for years to come.

 

Mark Hillman, a former Senate Majority Leader and State Treasurer, is executive director of Colorado Civil Justice League.

Colo. Supreme Court to decide if state’s release of public records should now be confidential

The Colorado Supreme Court next week will consider whether a Denver judge was correct when he declined to bar confidential documents from being used in a lawsuit after the state had previously released them publicly through an open records request.

“Plaintiffs have already refused the Attorney General’s demand that they stop using and destroy the privileged documents,” argued Porter Adventist Hospital located in Denver to the court. “[N]o Colorado court has previously considered a situation like this.”

– Colorado Politics