As a litigator, it’s not often that I see a judge begin a District Court order by quoting Shakespeare; but reading the introduction in the attached order gave me the sneaking suspicion that this judge was about to make an example out of someone. This is not my case (thankfully), nevertheless, soon after the judge issued the order it found its way to my office, and I’m sure countless other attorneys’ offices - not to express a concept of law, but to emphasize an often-overlooked principle of legal writing: Brevity.
Commentary and Analysis of Colorado Legal Matters
Many local governments have determined within the past few weeks to send a ballot issue or question to their voters in the November 2016 election. This act of setting the ballot language for the issue or question triggers the application of the Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act (“FCPA”) (§ 1-45-117, C.R.S.) For the local governments, this means that they are expressly prohibited from expending public funds to support/oppose any candidate for public office and any ballot issue before the voters. This include a prohibition on contributions of public funds and contributions of “in kind” public services.
Lyons Gaddis is pleased to announce that Cameron A. Grant has been elected as the firms’ new Managing Shareholder, effective July 1, 2016. Mr. Grant succeeds Anton V. Dworak, who served as Managing Shareholder for 8 years, and joins his colleague, Catherine A. Tallerico, on the firm’s Management Committee. During Mr. Dworak’s tenure he oversaw the expansion of the firm’s services, the opening of a Louisville office and the construction of an addition to the firm’s Longmont offices.
TIME FOR EMPLOYER’S TO REVIEW “USE IT OR LOSE IT” VACATION POLICIES
Submitted by Catherine Tallerico.
On January 1, 2015, a new Colorado Wage Protection Act (“Act”) went into effect, expanding wage claims under the Colorado Wage Act. The Act gives the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, Division of Labor (DOL) new enforcement authority to adjudicate complaints for unpaid wages, including earned vacation time. The DOL’s authority to adjudicate vacation pay claims arises from the Wage Act’s definition of “wages” to include “vacation pay earned in accordance with the terms of an agreement.” Additionally, “if an employer provides paid vacation for an employee, the employer shall pay upon separation from employment all vacation pay earned and determinable in accordance with the terms of any agreement between the employer and the employee.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-101.
Our enterprising (and athletic) attorneys find a variety of ways to keep working despite the major snowstorm to hit the Colorado front range this week. Some work from home, others test their snow tires, but a brave and healthy few turn the storm into the first official Lyons Gaddis Ski to Work Day.
Submitted by John Wade Gaddis.
Bob Dylan was right, “The times they are a-changing.” When I first started handling estates forty years ago, the big unknown was the contents of the decedent’s safe deposit box. Typically, we had to contact the State Inheritance Tax Office and make an appointment to have one of the State’s employees meet us at the bank to inventory the box. It was usually a moment that was fraught with drama and surprises. There were unexpected documents, rogue personal property and secrets in virtually every box. That process has been relegated to history as there is no current obligation to contact the State to open a safe deposit box.
Submitted by Catherine Tallerico.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) requires that a covered employer treat women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions the same as other applicants or employees who are similarly situated in their ability or inability to work. The PDA covers all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions and fringe benefits. Pregnant workers are protected from discrimination based on current pregnancy, past pregnancy and potential pregnancy.
Dick Lyons recently had the honor of presenting a $500 college scholarship to Ms. Alessandra Chavez. Ms. Chavez was given the award by the Hispanic Education Foundation. Alessandra graduated from Longmont High School and will attend the University of Northern Colorado to major in biology or chemistry. The Firm is proud to support the Hispanic Education Foundation in its efforts to create education opportunities, enrich lives, and enhance the St. Vrain Valley community.
Lyons Gaddis water lawyers have been asked by several of the firm’s clients to advise them on providing water to marijuana-related businesses cultivating marijuana in “grow operations.” These matters are complicated by the fact that the cultivation and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Under the aiding and abetting doctrine of criminal law, persons or entities providing water to these businesses could be subject to a federal prosecution.
Submitted by Eve Canfield Spot is my neighbor’s dog. There are few people Spot doesn’t want to bite. Because I fostered her as a rescue puppy, I am one of the lucky and very few humans that she loves unconditionally. If anything happened to Spot’s family, she would be welcomed into my home. She knows the way quite well. For a large number of the over 2.7 million animals euthanized in the U.S. every year, there is no home to go to when their owner (or “guardian” in Boulder) dies. Apparently we can partially thank Leona Helmsley, according to an article in the UMKC Law Review, for the establishment of enforceable Pet Trusts in Colorado and 37 other states. Leona left $12 million for the care of her dog, Trouble, in trust. In a legal sense, dogs and cats are personal property and are left to heirs or beneficiaries, who may or may not want to or be able to, care for a relative’s pet. It often takes weeks to resolve issues of personal property, but you can’t just store a pet with the silver until somebody makes a decision. A Pet Trust, however, can take immediate effect upon death to provide for your pet’s care.
Trusts are typically established with designated property for specific people. Some trusts are established for a particular purpose, such as a charitable trust. Pet Trusts are often called “honorary trusts.” This is because the pet can’t enforce the provisions of a trust to take them for a walk or to give a good scratch (although many pet owners might disagree). Colorado Revised Statute § 15-11-901, provides for an enforceable trust for the care of a designated domestic animal or pet and any of the offspring in gestation. It is interesting and unusual that this statute exempts a Pet Trust from the application of the rule against perpetuities (worthy of a separate explanation) and it also specifically allows extrinsic evidence to be admitted in the event a court has to interpret a Pet Trust and determine the intent of the person who transferred property into a trust for the pet’s care. There are several options available to provide for the future care of a pet, such as a simple provision in your will for a designated person to care for your pet and with a designated amount of money. You can also set up a separate trust with a formal trust document and designate property to fund it. You can also obtain a life insurance policy to fund the trust upon your death. So if you don’t have $12 million like Leona Helmsley or a neighbor who also loves your dog, like Spot does, you can still provide for the care of your pet when you’re gone.
Submitted by John Gaddis
Submitted by Blair M. Dickhoner
The Firm is excited about our new branch office in Louisville. Located at 363 Centennial Parkway, Suite 110, our Louisville office will provide greater flexibility for current and new clients from Louisville, Superior, Erie, Lafayette, Broomfield and surrounding communities near the Highway 36 corridor, as well as those from the Boulder and Denver metropolitan areas.