House advances construction lawsuit reform, nixes homeless right to sue

Saturday, April 22, 2017

House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee rubber-stamped a bipartisan agreement to make it more difficult for trial lawyers to bullrush homeowner associations into construction defects lawsuits, passing House Bill 1279 (SUPPORT) on a unanimous vote after adopting several amendments.

The bill would require a majority of homeowners in an association to give written consent before a construction lawsuit could proceed. Homeowners would also be fully apprised of the potential costs and risks of litigation. Provisions mandating mediation or arbitration were deleted from the bill.
Later in the evening, the same committee killed three bills - Senate Bills 181, 182 and 191 - aimed at reducing costly litigation by eliminating key elements of Colorado's "lawsuit tax."
As a result, Colorado law will continue to allow plaintiffs and their attorneys to collect "phantom damages" on medical bills that do not reflect the true cost of treatment and to receive 8% or 9% interest per year on those claims.
Ironically, one of the witnesses arguing against SB 181 acknowledged that his medical finance business would cease to exist if clients could no longer sue for phantom damages.
Simultaneously, House Local Government Committee endured a 10-hour hearing on a single bill, Rep. Joe Salazar's (D-Thornton) perennial "Right to Rest Act" - aka, the Homeless Right to Sue.
Citing the potential for expansive litigation against local governments, Reps. Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver) and Matt Gray (D-Broomfield) courageously voted against the bill, joined by the committee's six Republicans.

Representatives of cities testified that the bill would strike down bans on "urban camping," thereby depriving the public of safe use of city parks and denying customers access to businesses.
Unpersuaded by concerns of people who want to enjoy clean parks funded by taxpayers and to shop safely, Rep. Salazar took to social media to condemn his own colleagues for not marching in lockstep with his prescription.



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