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John Craver and Joel Varnell recently obtained a defense verdict in Jefferson County for an insurer in a case where the insured claimed seven figure damages for bad faith claims handling, statutory penalties for delay or denial of insurance benefits owed and breach of contract for failure to provide underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) benefits. The case arose out of a low impact rear end accident from which the plaintiff claimed physical injuries and loss of past and future earnings. The plaintiff claimed that the insurer had improperly denied her underinsured motorist coverage benefits for injuries and damages not compensated by the person who rear-ended her. The trial lasted into three weeks and included testimony from eight expert witnesses and numerous fact witnesses. The jury determined that the plaintiff had been fully compensated by the person who hit her, thus no UIM benefits were owed.

Craver, John
Joel N. Varnell

John Craver and Dmitry Vilner recently won a motion to dismiss in federal court for their client, a homeless shelter. The plaintiff, a prisoner who was on parole, alleged that his parole officers and the shelter agreed to force him to participate in Christian educational programming. Even assuming the plaintiff’s allegations were true (they were not), John and Dmitry persuaded the court that the shelter was not a “state actor,” as that term is defined under federal law. Therefore, the plaintiff could not sue the shelter for alleged violations of his constitutional rights.

Thank you to Cathy Endicott, Dmitry Vilner, Karen Caston, Susan Portillos, John Craver and Dave Nowak for their volunteering time in June!  It was a very busy night and the recent post office pick up event made for a lot of extra canned goods going out into the market place and the need for a ton of sorting.  Dave, Dmitry and Karen were sorting in the warehouse.  Dave was diligent about checking ingredients on each product to ensure each was healthy as Metro Caring does not distribute items with too much sugar. John did a lot of stocking of pantry shelves and filling the shelves in the refrigerator. Cathy and Susan worked in the marketplace as customer service and keeping shelves neat.  People were loading their carts like crazy!

We would love to see you at a White and Steele Metro Caring night - the last Tuesday of each month!

october-2016Thank you to Adam Goldstein (as well as Laura, Kate, Kacey and Kyle), John Craver, Keith Olivera and Susan and Mike Portillos for their volunteering time in October.  Adam and his crew worked in the warehouse sorting a lot of canned goods, dried goods and produce.  The produce sorting is so important so that it can get out on the shelves for shoppers before it goes bad.  Unfortunately sorting means composting portions which our volunteers did a lot of!  Laura brought her foreign exchange student Kate with her who has to get a lot of volunteer hours while she is here. Kate will be submitting an application to become a volunteer for Metro Caring on Tuesday nights until she leaves in June!  John and Keith ended up in the freezer most of the night stocking freezer items as they fly off the shelves all night long.  Mike and Susan were in the marketplace assisting shoppers in the first section (which includes produce), constantly shifting the stock on the shelves to make each shopper feel like the first with fully stocked and neat shelves.  One larger family walked out with 279 pounds of food!  With the new Metro Caring system of “take what you need” the only thing they have to limit each family on is frozen meats due to quantity.

"My kids and I had a good time volunteering, and it was rewarding to help the community in such a direct way." -Adam Goldstein

"John Craver and I spent two hours in the freezer. Cold, but it feels warm to do a good deed! This place is amazing. Come join us!" -Keith Olivera

It was a great night!  Come and join us for volunteering on Tuesday, November 22.  This is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which is a super fun night to help with.  Come check it out!

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John Craver and Robin Bowers defended an insurance carrier in a two week trial at the end of July in which the insured entered into a Nunn agreement. A Judicial Arbiter Group arbitrator awarded $2,200,000 in an arbitration which the carrier chose not to defend. A Nunn agreement was then entered by the insured with the Plaintiff. A third party bad faith case was tried in Boulder in which the Plaintiff alleged that the carrier failed to reasonably investigate, settle or defend the claim. The carrier had used staff counsel to defend the underlying litigation. The case was tried before a Boulder jury and a defense verdict was rendered for the carrier. The case involved multiple rulings on evidence and law that may be of interest to others.

JPC CurrentJohn Craver represented a recreation sports league in an personal injury action brought by a former player who sustained injuries during practice. Prior to participating in league play, the player’s parent completed the required online registration process, which included the acceptance of a waiver and release. The Court found the waiver and release valid under Jones, and thereby enforceable as a matter of law, resulting in the dismissal of all claims against the client.

John Craver also represented the owner of a local business in a negligence action stemming from a motor vehicle accident. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was driving on a road near our client’s business that provided access to multiple businesses within a larger commercial development. As the plaintiff passed through an uncontrolled intersection, he was struck by another motorist traveling on the same access road. Plaintiff asserted negligence and premises liability claims against our client, claiming it owed a duty to warn of the danger posed by the uncontrolled intersection, namely by installing signs or signals. The Court agreed, and upon its finding that our client owed no duty to the plaintiff as a matter of law, and all claims against our client were dismissed.

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John Craver tried an auto/pedestrian accident in Denver District Court with admitted liability and a defendant with a blood alcohol content of .14. Plaintiff alleged over $50,000.00 in medical bills, spine injuries, a brain injury and punitive damages. The last demand was $850,000.00 and the last offer of settlement was $275,000.00. The jury awarded $16,500.00.

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John Craver and Joel Varnell obtained summary judgment on a first party statutory delay and bad faith claim in an underinsured motorist case where the Denver District Court found there was no duty to advance payment of the amount offered and that the evidence was undisputed that the insurer continued to evaluate the case and paid the claim even after additional information was provided. The District Court concluded that plaintiff had not offered sufficient evidence of bad faith by the insurance company for a jury’s consideration, and that settlement offers by an insurance company in an underinsured motorist benefits claim case are not admissible as evidence of bad faith.

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