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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

20 Years of Service.

Young AVD
Anton Dworak

Please join Lyons Gaddis in its celebration of 20 years of service provided by Anton V. Dworak. Anton is a fourth generation Longmont resident, tracing his roots back to his homesteading ancestors. Anton has been with Lyons Gaddis since 1999, and maintains a lively and diverse practice. Before joining our firm, Anton was an active contributor to the Longmont community, a devotion that continues to this day. Anton’s quick wits, passion for the arts, and wonderful sense of humor make him the perfect member of the Lyons Gaddis family. Lyons Gaddis thanks you for 20 years of outstanding service Anton V. Dworak! 

 

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229 Hits

An Advocate's Advice: 7 Lessons Learned Over a Lifetime in the Law

Stairs

After 45 years of handling several thousand disputes, there are some recurring lessons to be learned about achieving the best results. While every case is unique, the roadmap to a successful result includes a set of common waypoints. As you face a dispute, whether litigation, mediation, arbitration or even negotiation, these seven “trade secrets” will help ensure that you have the best chance of success:

1. Identify Your Goals. You wouldn’t start a road trip without knowing your destination. Similarly, make sure you know where you are driving your case. What do you want to achieve in the case? Write it down. Be specific. Share those goals with your lawyer at the outset of representation. Disputes are emotional, time consuming, and issues become murky as the case proceeds. Clearly identified goals can keep you, your lawyer, and your case on track.                                                                                                                                                                         
2. Demand Attention from Your Lawyer. Many Lawyers are like emergency room doctors; they practice triage. Very few attorneys have the luxury of representing a single client. Your attorney must divide their time between multiple cases, where the most serious issue of the moment takes all the attention. That means even though your lawyer wants to focus solely on your case, they may be getting pulled in many other directions at the same time. To you, your case is the most important, to your attorney, treating every case as their most important can be an insurmountable hurdle. To keep your case in priority and at the forefront of your attorney’s mind, schedule specific times to call or meet with your lawyer to review your case. Yes, these calls and meetings can cost money, but it creates both urgency and open discussion about the best way to achieve your goals.                                                                                                              
3. Establish Trust. You must trust your lawyer and your lawyer’s advice. If you don’t, find another lawyer. Strategic decisions will be left to your attorney, even if you don’t agree with every point of strategy, you must trust that your attorney is making their decisions in your best interest. The dispute resolution process is difficult and often stressful for both you and your attorney. During the process of resolving your claim you may get advice that you internally disagree with. If you do not trust your lawyer, conflicts will develop. These conflicts can derail a favorable resolution.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. If the first three points did not drive this point home, allow me to reiterate: like any relationship, communication is KEY! Cases are all about information, facts, data and opinions. The more factual data you can provide your lawyer, the better chance you have of achieving your goals. Let your attorney decide what is relevant. As your case progresses you will get fatigued, sometimes you just want to turn the issue over to someone else – you are sick of it. That is understandable, but it is critical that you continue to communicate with your lawyer. Usually, there are few other ways for your lawyer to get the information needed. We may be good at what we do but we do not read minds.                             

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279 Hits

When is an Irrevocable Trust Not Irrevocable?

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Decanting and the Art of Change

What is in a name?  There was a time when irrevocable meant just that.  In Colorado (and at least 24 other states); however, an irrevocable trust can now be changed by decanting.  Decanting can describe the gradual pouring of a liquid, typically wine, from one container into another.  Recently, the term “decanting” has taken on a new meaning in the legal profession where it refers to a technique whereby assets are transferred (decanted) from one trust to another trust.  Decanting essentially allows modification of an otherwise irrevocable and unamendable trust.

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408 Hits

40 Years of Service.

Lyons Richard 01 1

It is with great pride that we honor Dick Lyons's 40 years of outstanding service to Lyons Gaddis. During this time Dick has set the standard of excellence within our firm, made substantial contributions to the Longmont community, and provided superlative legal services to countless clients. Anyone who has had the opportunity to interact with Dick will tell you that he is a deep thinker, a colorful raconteur, and that he has a wonderful sense of humor. Thank you, Dick Lyons, you have provided a benchmark for our firm and the greater Northern Colorado legal community.

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445 Hits

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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619 Hits

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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539 Hits

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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677 Hits

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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774 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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734 Hits

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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795 Hits

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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914 Hits

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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788 Hits

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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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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1089 Hits

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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1046 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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1184 Hits

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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677 Hits

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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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