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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

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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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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268 Hits

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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The Harvey Weinstein Syndrome - Every Company's Needed Response

20171226 Blog

The allegations of abuse have been staggering. The numbers of abused victims are astounding. Are these problems limited to the film and television industries?

Ask any working woman, and the answer to that question is no. Although this is the 21st Century, sexual harassment is still prevalent in many of our work places.

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487 Hits

May He Rest in Peace; now give me his football tickets!

Cameron Grant

Frank Lumpkin Jr. loved Georgia football.  As the story goes, one Saturday (over 50 years ago) Mr. Lumpkin walked through downtown Columbus, Georgia with his infant son.  He came upon an Auburn fan and the two ultimately came to blows, with Lumpkin clutching his son’s bassinet in his left hand while he swung at the Auburn fan with his right.

Mr. Lumpkin looked out for his two loves that day – his son and his Georgia Bulldogs.  Unfortunately, he later forgot to take care of his kids when he failed to mention his Georgia football season tickets in his will.  Now, his son, Frank Lumpkin, III, and his daughter, Julia Lumpkin, are embroiled in litigation over their parents’ estate, with ownership of the Georgia tickets as a major sticking point. 

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Brevity is the Soul of Wit

Chad Kupper

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 Court's Order in Sinclar v. Larson 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.

In the case, Sinclair’s attorney, who filed multiple briefs exceeding the 10-page limit without asking permission first, provoked Judge Taylor to take extreme action in striking 5 of Sinclair’s pending briefs. On the eve of trial, I can only imagine the impact of this order, which undoubtedly sent shivers down the spine of Sinclair’s lawyer. The order surely resulted in wasted attorney’s fees and court costs, and ultimately an unhappy client; and all because Sinclair’s briefs were not brief.

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