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The Secretary of State has adjusted limitations on damages for all claims for relief that accrue on or after January 1, 2020 as follows: 

For claims for relief that accrue on or after January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2020, the following limitations apply: 

Damage Limitation 01-01-2020.pdf

Please feel free to call or send a note if you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter.  We are glad to assist.  We can be reached at: 

Phone: (303) 296-2828
Fax:     (303) 296-3131
Email:  nklann@wsteele.com
Email:  mdaugherty@wsteele.com

Nick B. Klann,
Of Counsel

Michael J. Daugherty, Shareholder

Michael Daugherty and Cati Shadakofsky recently prevailed on a C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5) motion to dismiss in Boulder County. The case arose out of a tenant dispute that escalated to alleged threatening and harassing behavior. The complaint alleged that the property owner and its employees were willful and wanton in disregarding a known danger to one of the tenants, that they breached the terms of the lease, and that they breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing. The Court agreed with the defendants’ argument that the complaint asserted unrecognized and conclusory allegations, granted the motion to dismiss in its entirety, and awarded defendants their attorney fees and costs.

Michael Daugherty and Jack Stokan recently obtained summary judgment for White and Steele’s client, an auto parts retailer, by arguing the client was not a “landowner” within the meaning of Colorado’s Premises Liability Act. Plaintiff alleged he sustained injuries when he struck a pothole in an alleyway near the retailer’s store while riding his motorcycle. Plaintiff claimed the retailer was responsible for the pothole because the alleyway provided access to its store. We argued the retailer had no control over the condition of the alleyway and had no responsibility to maintain the portion of the alleyway where Plaintiff struck the pothole. Therefore, the retailer could not be classified as a “landowner” as a matter of law. The Court agreed and dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against the retailer.

On January 1, 2020, disclosure of insurance policy coverage and limits to insureds and to claimants or their attorneys becomes mandatory when requested by an insured, the clamant or the claimant’s attorney.

House Bill 19-1283 requires that an insurer that issues commercial automobile or personal automobile liability insurance coverage to provide to the claimants or the claimant’s attorney a statement setting forth the following information with regard to each known policy, including umbrella insurance:

1.         The name of the insurer;
2.         The name of each insured party, as the name appears on the declarations page of the policy;
3.         The limits of the liability coverage; and
4.         A copy of the policy.

This information must be provided not more than 30 calendar days after receiving a written request.  The request can be made by the claimant or their attorney directly to the insurer, or by a written request to the insured party thereby compelling disclosure to the claimant of the name and coverage of each known insurer. 

An insurer that violates the disclosure requirement is liable to the requesting claimant for damages in an amount of $100.00 per day beginning on the 31st day following the receipt of the claimant’s written request and continuing until the information is provided.  Additionally, an insurer that fails to make the required disclosure is also responsible for the attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the claimant in enforcing the penalty.

The statute forbids claimant and any attorney of the claimant from disclosing to any party the information provided except to discuss the information with the claimant’s insurer.  However, the statute is silent as to any penalty for a disclosure violation.

The legislative declaration for enacting this statute is stated to promote transparency in the insurance claim process and to further the public policy of encouraging settlement and preventing unnecessary litigation.  Claimants and injured parties should fully understand the total amount of insurance coverage available to them.  Additionally, the Legislature declared that the statute will help Colorado residents evaluate whether their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage will be triggered and allow an insurer who provides uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage or policies more time to evaluate and place reserves on claims.

The Department of Regulatory Agencies has issued a Bulletin to provide guidance for insurers on this issue.  Link to Bulletin No. B-1.34

Please feel free to call or send a note if you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter.  I’ll be glad to assist. I can be reached at:

Phone:  (303) 296-2828

Fax:      (303) 296-3131

Email:   mdaugherty@wsteele.com

Michael J. Daugherty, Shareholder

On May 30, 2018 Governor Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 18-062 known as the “Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act.” This new statute is directed at entities both providing services under a snow/ice removal contract, as well as those that receive the services.

In sum, this Act abolishes agreements or clauses in a snow/ice removal contract that requires indemnity, hold harmless and defense requirements by the service provider or service receiver’s own acts or omissions. No longer can a service provider or service recipient transfer responsibility for their own acts or omissions to the other party.

This Act abolishes as against public policy:

1) Any agreement or provision of an agreement that requires indemnity by the service provider to the service recipient, or similarly, the service recipient to the service provider, for its own acts or omissions;

2) Any agreement or provision in an agreement that requires a service provider to hold harmless the service recipient, or similarly, the service recipient to hold harmless the service provider, for its own acts and omissions;

3) Any agreement or provision of an agreement that requires a service provider to defend a service receiver against any tort liability for damages, and similarly, the service receiver being required to defend a service provider against any tort liability for damages, resulting from its own acts or omissions.

This Act is not applicable to contracts for snow/ice removal services on public roads, or with a public utility, for services provided to a municipal or county airport, an insurance policy as a surety bond, or workers’ compensation insurer.

This Act will become effective on August 8, 2018 absent any procedural circumstances. This Act will apply only to contracts entered on or after August 8, 2018.

Please feel free to call or send a note if you have an questions or would like to discuss this matter. I’ll be glad to assist. I can be reached at:

By: Michael J. Daugherty

 

 

Thank you to Mike Daugherty, Jim Dieterich, John Lebsack, Joey Mark and Rachel Ryckman for their volunteering time in September!  They worked in the warehouse doing some sorting of various items.  Not only is Metro Caring a great facility for the community and our volunteering is very important to many people, it is a great chance to get to know others in the office.  But they look so serious!

The Las Animas District Court granted a Motion for Summary Judgement enforcing the exculpatory clause in a membership agreement in favor of a rehabilitation and fitness center.  In a detailed 12-page Order, the Court applied the factors set forth by the Supreme Court in Jones v. Dressel, 623 P.2d 370 (Colo. 1981) holding that the release is valid and enforceable against a member who alleged she sustained personal injury arising from the use of a defective exercise machine.

In the Order, the Court first addressed and rejected plaintiff’s contention that because exculpatory clauses are creatures of common law, and because the Premises Liability Act, C.R.S. § 13-21-115, preempts all common law defenses, an exculpatory clause cannot be used as a defense to a claim under the PLA.  The Court then addressed and found that each of the Jones factors were satisfied and that therefore plaintiff’s claims were barred by the release.

To discuss this case or similar claims you may be handling, please contact Michael Daugherty.

november-2016-1The distribution night before Thanksgiving is always extra busy and extra rewarding! Thank you to Jodi Derrera-Guffey (with Lorraine, Nina, and Brandi), Monty Barnett (with Denise, Brandon, and Gabe), Rachel Ryckman (with Kris, Jason, Parker, and Landon), Matt Tills ( with Tricia), Savvi Neufer (with Ross), Louie Reinenger, Susan Portillos and Mike Daugherty for their volunteering time in November. This was the biggest turnout yet and everyone got a ton done. Jodi and her crew, Rachel and her crew, Monte and his crew, Savvi and Ross, Louie, Matt and Mike all worked in the warehouse. They sorted a lot of produce, including a ton of cucumbers (if the produce does not get sorted and into the marketplace it ends up going bad). The group also broke down big bags of pinto beans (10 or more 15 pound bags) into family size portions, they sorted canned goods and dried goods, loaded and moved pallets of produce to get into the marketplace, washed down bins, broke down boxes, etc. They got about a week’s worth of work done which is huge. There was a lot of laughter and fun going on back there also! Tricia and Susan worked in the marketplace starting people shopping, checking them in and helping weigh them on their way out along with Matt’s periodic help.

"It’s always rewarding to volunteer at Metro Caring, but this month was especially unique due to our large group. We were not only able to get a lot of tasks accomplished, but it also provided a nice opportunity to spend time with colleagues and their families outside of the office, and that made for an even more enjoyable evening." -Louie Reininger

"It was my first time volunteering for anything, and I must say it was a great feeling to be able to do something to make someone’s life a little easier.  It being right before Thanksgiving made it even more special." -Jodi Derrera-Guffey

"If anything I would say that it felt a little chaotic at times, but it was still great to see so many faces and we got so much extra work done than we normally would!" -Savvi Neufer

"It was nice to help others. I thought the shopping area was cool." -Landon

"It meant a lot to me to help others." -Parker

"We had a great turnout of White & Steele volunteers (along with friends and family members) and, as usual, it was a rewarding and fun experience. With the number of people that showed up we accomplished a lot of work and helped a lot of people feed their families over the Thanksgiving holiday." -Monty Barnett

40 families went through the marketplace that night, and their boxes were overflowing with food to the point the boxes were breaking! Each family went home with a turkey, and most with two turkeys! A lot of happy faces as they went out with their hauls. Thanks to everyone in the warehouse for getting so much food out on the shelves!

Come join the White and Steele group at the next volunteering night on December 27, 2016.

Michael DaughertyJNV 1

 

Michael Daugherty and Joel Varnell received an order granting the setting aside of a default against the insured; thereafter, they were successful in having the court grant summary judgment. In its order the court agreed that the plaintiff’s complaint was not timely filed and declined to allow the application of C.R.C.P. 15(c), relation back amendment, to the original filing date of the complaint. Plaintiff alleged over $200,000 in medical expenses, future wage loss and a mild TBI.

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Denver, CO 80202