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!

‘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

CCJL announces Common Sense in the Courtroom Award winners for 2020

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.

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 2020 that will increase the costs and risks associated with 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 Mark Baisley (Roxborough Park), Perry Buck (Greeley), Terri Carver (Colorado Springs), Marc Catlin (Montrose), Richard Champion (Columbine Valley), Tim Geitner (Peyton), Richard Holtorf (Akron), Steve Humphrey (Severance), Tracy Kraft-Tharp (Arvada), Lois Landgraf (Colorado Springs), Colin Larson (Littleton), Larry Liston (Colorado Springs), Hugh McKean (Loveland), Patrick Neville (Franktown), Rod Pelton (Cheyenne Wells), Kim Ransom (Douglas County), Janice Rich (Grand Junction), Shane Sandridge (Colorado Springs), Kevin Van Winkle (Highlands Ranch), Perry Will (New Castle), Dave Williams (Colorado Springs), and Jim Wilson (Salida).
  • Senators John Cooke (Greeley), Don Coram (Montrose), Larry Crowder (Alamosa), Bob Gardner (Colorado Springs), Chris Hansen (Denver), 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), Jack Tate (Centennial), Angela Williams (Denver), Rob Woodward (Loveland), and Rachel Zenzinger (Arvada).

In addition, Attorney General Phil Weiser was named a Common Sense Award-winner for his work to find a balance that protects consumers from deceptive practices and protects honest businesses from speculative lawsuits.

Recipients are typically honored at CCJL’s annual Legislative Awards Luncheon.  However, this year’s event has been cancelled due to the COVID pandemic and corresponding restrictions on public gatherings.

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.