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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Supreme Court Reverses State Litigation Requirement in Takings Cases

Following the ruling in Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, a property owner may bring a claim in federal court for a violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment as soon as the government takes private property for public use without paying for it, overruling established precedent that a property owner must exhaust state court remedies before suing in federal court.  https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/knick-v-township-scott-pennsylvania/ #supremecourt #takings #landuse #realestatelaw

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Open Records and Personnel Files

20190628 JIC Blog

Most, if not all, government employees are aware of the general proposition of “open records.”  The general premise is that information related to the functions of government should be open to public inspection.  In Colorado, this general premise is codified in the Colorado Open Records Act, § 24-72-200.1, et seq., C.R.S. (“CORA”).  CORA applies to all local governments within Colorado including, but not limited to school districts and special districts.  At the beginning of CORA, the state General Assembly provides the following declaration on the intent of the law:

“It is declared to be the public policy of this state that all public records shall be open for inspection by any person at reasonable times, except as provided in [CORA] or as otherwise specifically provided by law.”[1]

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The Firm welcomes Scott Sinclair!

Scott Sinclair

I was born in New York City, raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, and went to Cornell College in Iowa (not Cornell U. in Ithaca, NY), where I met my wife, Clare.  When we graduated, she missed her mountains (she grew up in Steamboat), so we moved to Fort Collins.  We bought our house in Loveland in 2007, and adopted our first son, Daniel, in 2012.  We have one cat, Toppers, and are going through the adoption process for our second son, Rhys.  I’ve been in legal support since 2009, most recently focusing on family law and estate planning at Clark, Williams and Matsunaka.  I enjoy hanging out with the kiddos, movies, video games, and playing and running tabletop roleplaying games. 

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Exciting news for 2019

Spitz
Kayleigh Bloodgood 2
Jessica Wagner

Lyons Gaddis is pleased to announce some exciting news for 2019. As of January 1, we welcomed Jennifer Spitz as a new Shareholder in the firm along with her team member’s; Denise Poepping, Legal Assistant, Jessica Wagner, Legal Assistant, and Kayleigh Bloodgood as our new receptionist. We are excited for the expertise that Jennifer and her team bring to the firm. Click below to read more about our newcomers. 

 

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Colorado River Administration Changes

Lake Mead

The Colorado River serves over 40 million people across seven states and Mexico, and the basin has been experiencing historic drought conditions since 2000, according to the Department of the Interior.  The Upper Colorado River Commission, formed in 1948 to help the “Upper Basin” states of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah administer the Colorado River Compact, unanimously agreed Wednesday, December 12, 2018 to enter into three agreements addressing drought contingency planning.  The agreements, in conjunction with a similar set of agreements currently being negotiated between the “Lower Basin” states of California, Nevada, and Arizona, are intended to increase water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead.  The Lower Basin states have been given a deadline of January 31, 2019 by the federal government to complete their agreements, or risk federal involvement in the matter. 

The agreements approved by the Upper Basin states address increased collaboration between the states and the Bureau of Reclamation to manage reservoir releases in the basin, increased allowable storage in Lake Powell if such water is available for storage as a result of conservation efforts in the Upper Basin States (Lake Mead is located in the Lower Basin), and increased cooperation between the Upper and Lower Basin states regarding water conservation and increased storage in Lake Mead.

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497 Hits

Attorney Fee Shifting Provisions in Contracts - Not Always The Right Call

JSR Blog

Almost every contract we sign, in business or for our personal lives, has a clause that awards attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in any lawsuit or arbitration.  This means that if you end up in a dispute - with your cell phone provider, for example - if you win, they pay your attorneys’ fees, but if they win, you pay theirs.  

These contractual provisions are intended to deter people from filing a lawsuit unless they’re absolutely certain that they’ll win.  The idea is that, if you have a chance of paying the other side’s attorneys’ fees, you’ll give serious pause before filing a lawsuit.  

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Pelotons, Rules, and the Game of Thrones

Pelotons

Has the Game of Thrones descended into Boulder County? It seems as if another ancient noble family has taken root here – the Pelotons. You have seen its citizens, haven’t you? It has its own warrior class (like the unsullied) who wear uniforms and helmets out on the road. But here, whom does the Peloton battle for control and supremacy? 

It is typically the Lannisters calculating in their BMW 750is; the Targaryens’ seeking prior glory in their Tesla Model 3s; and the White Walkers hunting the living in a fleet of Ford F-150’s.

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BOCO Bar Paralegal Presentation

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Oct 2018 BOCO Paralegal 1 002

Kyna Glover, paralegal at Lyons Gaddis, presented How to Become a Successful Paralegal to the Boulder County Bar Association Paralegal Section at its October 3 meeting.  Kyna shared some best practices and guidelines aimed specifically at new graduate or less experienced paralegals.  Her presentation included professionalism for working in a law firm or legal setting; interaction with attorneys, clients and the courts, and productivity suggestions for handling organization, multi-tasking, and case management.  Kyna has 28 years of experience as a paralegal and presents election trainings for Lyons Gaddis clients. She has been employed by Lyons Gaddis for 14 ½ years as the Government Practice Group’s Special District/School District paralegal supporting litigation, elections, employment, and other client matters.

 

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Record Retention

Record Retention 2

School and special districts, along with other governmental entities, are governed by many federal and state laws, including Colorado’s state laws related to public records and their record retention periods.  Section 24-80-101, C.R.S. and following, provide the statutory framework for the legal requirements for school boards of education and special district boards of directors to follow in order to determine what public records must be preserved as permanent records, along with what public records may be destroyed and when such destruction may occur.  Without having an adopted records retention schedule approved by the Colorado State Archives, no record may be destroyed.  This article provides an overview of how to create and adopt a records retention schedule for your local government entity so that records may then legally be destroyed, as well as reviews the benefits of establishing the retention schedule.

What is a records retention schedule?  A records retention schedule lists all records maintained by the school or special district, along with how long each record must be maintained.  The schedule sets forth which records must be retained permanently and which others can be destroyed once they have exceeded the minimum retention period. The records retention schedule acts as the legal authorization by the State Archives and State Auditor to then destroy the non-permanent records.

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The Holidays Are Coming Up!

Holidays

I hear it from my family and friends earlier every year:  “Can you believe the holidays are coming up?’  I know it’s just the middle of September and we’re going to be in the 90’s all week, but I did see the Halloween decorations on the shelves at Walgreens.  So, it’s only a matter of time before that gives way to an aisle filled with Christmas stockings and red and green m&ms.  I just received my first invitation to a holiday party last week.

And what goes better with holiday festivities than lots of wine and spirits?  If you are the hosting one of these gatherings, should you be worried about your responsibility for the person who has had too much to drink?  If that person gets in his car and winds up hurting someone are you responsible?  Assuming this is purely a social event, the answer is no – sort of.  Under Colorado Revised Statute 12-47-804 a social host cannot be held responsible for injuries caused by a person who became intoxicated at your party.  The exception to the rule is if the host “knowingly served any alcohol beverage to such person who was under the age of twenty-one years or knowingly provided the person under the age of twenty-one a place to consume an alcoholic beverage.”  This liability extends even to minors who may sneak a beer for friends while mom and dad aren’t watching.  So remember, eat drink and be merry, but make sure everyone is twenty-one.

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If You're Going to do it - Is it Better to Divorce in 2018 or 2019?

Divorce

One of the changes in the new “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA) affects couples contemplating a divorce where one party will likely have to pay alimony (maintenance in Colorado) to the other party.  Today, the payor of maintenance receives a tax deduction and the payee pays taxes on that income.  The new tax law eliminates the tax deduction for the payor of maintenance and eliminates it as taxable income for the payee. 

If you file for dissolution in 2018 and get a decree of dissolution with a maintenance obligation before the end of 2018, you will have the benefit or disadvantage, of the existing law.  But in 2019, the new tax law takes effect.  

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926 Hits

USS Colorado

USS CO 2

Anton Dworak volunteered his services to help with the formation of the USS Colorado (SSN 788) Commissioning Committee.  The USS Colorado is the Navy’s newest Virginia Class attack Submarine.  The committee supports the crew and families of the submarine and educates the public about the role of the US Navy.  In recognition of his contribution, Mr. Dworak was named an honorary “plankowner” (part of the first crew) and received special recognition in the commissioning ceremony program.

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Creating a Condo Association in a Commercial Setting

Condos

If you own a commercial building and are looking to get the most value out of your investment, one option to consider is creating a commercial condominium association.  This article will explore some of the benefits of commercial condos, and provide a brief overview of the process to create a condo association.  A condominium is a form of ownership of real property within a common interest community where portions of the real estate are designated for separate ownership, and the remainder is designated for common ownership. Colorado permits this form of ownership pursuant to the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act, C.R.S. § 38-33.3-101 et seq. (“CCIOA”). According to CCIOA, no zoning ordinance, or other real estate use law or regulation may impose any requirement upon a condominium which it would not impose upon a physically identical development under a different form of ownership.  In other words, merely converting the ownership of the real estate to a condominium should not require additional governmental approvals or intervention.

In a commercial context, such as an office or industrial building, this form of ownership can create flexibility and value for an owner by creating individual saleable assets (units). Creating condos allows a building owner to avoid having to sell the property as a whole, and/or avoid going through a costly and time-consuming subdivision process to subdivide the land.  Additionally, the owner (called the “declarant”) has complete control over the condo process and result; including the control to define the specific offices, buildings, floors, and common areas, and control to determine the terms of the association and the management. Once the project is finalized, the declarant even has the control and flexibility to sell off some of the units, and retain ownership of others. Condos also offer an attractive form of ownership for potential buyers. Each unit owner becomes an owner in the association, allowing for the right to vote on important management issues, and the sharing of common expenses – typically determined by the square footage of a unit in relation to the building as a whole.  Potential buyers may appreciate that the common elements, such as structural building components, landscaping, and parking areas are all maintained by the association.  Business owners may also recognize that when they purchase a condo they are building equity in their business, rather than throwing money away for rent.

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719 Hits

Special District Association (SDA) Conference, 2018

Keystone

Adele Reester and Cathy Tallerico will both be presenting at this year's Special District Association (SDA) Conference in September, which will be held in Keystone. They will be speaking on the constitutional and statutory requirements affecting district websites so there is a better understanding of the accessibility compliance under the Americans with Disabilities Act, record retention requirements from the State Archives, and various First Amendment concerns for public forums and employees. 

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Steamboat Springs Office

Steamboat Office

Steve Jeffers opened an office for the firm in Steamboat Springs, Co in June. Steve plans to work in Steamboat on a part-time basis, in addition to his regular schedule in the Louisville office. The new office will help the better serve our West Slope clients and others while Steve spends more time enjoying the Colorado outdoors with his family in Steamboat. The office is located at 405 South Lincoln Ave., #205.

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Donations for the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain

Shelter 2

The firm has been collecting travel size shampoo, conditioner, lotions, etc. These items will be donated to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain. Thank you to everyone who has participated as every little bit of these donations will help someone in need. Keep em' coming! 

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Congratulations Team Left Hand!

Team Left Hand 2

Congratulations to Longmont’s Team Left Hand for helping to #CrushMS June 23-24 for Bike MS Colorado.  Lyons Gaddis is proud to help sponsor such a great team and support a great cause.

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723 Hits

What is the Gallagher Amendment?

Amendments

In 1982, Colorado voters passed the Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado Constitution.  The Amendment got its name from Dennis Gallagher, the state legislator that proposed the action.  The primary concern of the Gallagher Amendment was to set a specific policy for determining actual value and assessed value of property in relation to the collection of property taxes within the State of Colorado. 

More specifically, the Gallagher Amendment set a fixed ratio for the amount of revenues collected through property tax and divided those revenues into two major categories: Non-residential and Residential.  Residential, as it suggests, is the property tax revenue generated from the ownership of homes.  Non-residential includes everything else, from commercial properties and farms, to oil and gas properties.  The Gallagher Amendment requires that Non-residential property tax revenues make up 55% of total property tax revenues, leaving Residential to account for the remaining 45%.  Significantly, the Gallagher Amendment also fixed the Non-residential Assessment Rate at 29% and requires the Residential Assessment Rate to fluctuate in order to maintain the 55%-45% ratio between the two sources of revenue.  The combination of the 55%-45% ratio and the floating Residential Assessment Rate has resulted in a consistent “ratcheting down” effect for the Residential Assessment Rate between 1982 and the present. 

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Congratulations Brad!

Bradley Hall

Our very own Brad Hall has been sworn in as the President of the Boulder County Bar Association. Congratulations! 

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710 Hits

2018 Taste of Louisville & Taste Race

Taste of Louisville

Lyons Gaddis was a proud sponsor of the 2018 Taste of Louisville & Taste 5K, what a fun day for the Louisville community!

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Serving The Entire State Of Colorado
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Longmont Office

515 Kimbark Street, Second Floor
Longmont, CO 80502
Phone: 303-776-9900 
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Louisville Office

363 Centennial Parkway, Suite 110
Louisville, CO 80027
Phone: 720-726-3670 
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Satellite Office

748 Whalers Way, Suite # 240A
Fort Collins, CO 80525
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