Bicycles keep on rolling

This past May, a new Colorado law went into effect which permits a municipality to regulate allowable conduct by bicyclists approaching intersections with stop signs or illuminated red traffic control signals. The law allows local regulations or ordinances provide that a bicyclist approaching a stop sign must slow to a reasonable speed and, when safe to do so, may proceed through the intersection without stopping. A bicyclist approaching an illuminated red traffic control signal must stop at the intersection and, when safe to do so, may proceed through the intersection. The bill sets the reasonable speed limit at 15 miles…

When to Break Into a Car

A new Colorado law went into effect last month which protects individuals who break into a stranger’s vehicle to save a life – but certain steps must be undertaken to avoid liability or criminal charges. The rescuer must have a reasonable belief that the person or animal is suffering serious bodily harm. Then an attempt must be made to locate the owner of the vehicle or contact law enforcement. As a last resort, the new law allows the rescue by breaking into the vehicle. In Denver, it is a crime to leave an animal in dangerous conditions, such as a…

Help with Legal Fact Checking

In this age of fake news and loose ideas offered as facts, the American Bar Association has taken on the task of offering reliable answers to current legal issues. The new website, ABA Legal Fact Check, is described by the ABA as the first focusing exclusively on legal matters. ABA Legal Fact Check will explore widely disseminated legal assertions. Primary to the task is addressing misrepresentations and misunderstandings about constitutional rights. The website will offer legal discussions and explanations based upon case and statutory law and other legal precedents to clarify common misconceptions. Recent posts include protections for hate speech,…

Don’t Throw Out That Phone, My Friend

Mueller v. Swift should be a guidepost for future litigation involving electronically stored information (ESI). In the new age of electronics, individuals must take every step to be sure all data is being preserved. Just as in keeping a paper trail when wanting to document all conversations, one should be keeping an entire electronic trail as well. Spoliation of evidence will play a key role in this case. This has become a large issue in modern litigation and has garnished attention and concern. Many courts that have already addressed this issue place sanctions on parties when there is failure by…

Your Right to Review

Consumers are rating everything from medical care to margaritas, leaving businesses unhappy when poor reviews pop up online. In March of 2017 a new federal law went into effect, protecting consumers from bullying by companies afraid of posted reviews. The Consumer Review Fairness Act was signed by President Obama following bipartisan support in Congress. According to the Federal Trade Commission: The Consumer Review Fairness Act makes it illegal for companies to include standardized provisions that threaten or penalize people for posting honest reviews. For example, in an online transaction, it would be illegal for a company to include a provision…

No Flood of Lawsuits

Like so much “common wisdom” of our culture, the view that our court system is flooded with lawsuits filed by “trial lawyers” has no factual support. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported this week on statistics provided by the National Center for State Courts, showing a dramatic decrease in personal injury lawsuits. In 1993, about 10 in every 10,000 Americans filed a tort claim but in 2015, the average had dropped to fewer than 2 in every 1,000 people. WSJ notes that industry groups, particularly the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have promoted the perception of lawsuit abuse have effectively demonized…

Cocktails Result in Crashes

During the heat of the summer it is often tempting to cool off with your favorite cold alcoholic beverage, but preventing drinking and driving is a top priority for Colorado State Patrol. Though the CSP reports a 3.4% decrease in the number of DUI/DUID accidents for the first half of 2017 over the same period of 2016, that still represents 255 crashes resulting in injuries or fatalities. And the Colorado Supreme Court also favors strict enforcement of the state’s DUI laws. Just this spring, the state supreme court heard three cases challenging prosecution of DUI charges: one challenged blood tests…

Baby Powder Trial Tossed

Johnson & Johnson faces more than 1,000 lawsuits claiming the company’s talc powder, commonly called baby powder, caused ovarian cancer. But for the roughly 200 women whose lawsuits were consolidated in New Jersey, bad news emerged from the first state trial asserting the claim. The trial judge, Judge Nelson Johnson, ruled that the women did not provide sufficient medical evidence demonstrating the causal link between use of the talc powder and the ovarian cancer. Judge Johnson wrote a 33-page order dismissing the lawsuit brought by Brandi Carl and Diana Balderrama. The judge called the testimony by plaintiffs’ experts to be narrow…

Colorado Supreme Court Rules on In-Bounds Avalanche Risk

Today the Colorado Supreme Court issued the ruling in 2016 CO 41, 14SC224 - Fleury v. IntraWest, affirmed the decision of the lower courts and holding that in-bound avalanches are an inherent risk as defined by the Colorado Ski Safety Act. The headnote states: The Colorado Supreme Court holds that an avalanche that occurs within the bounds of a ski resort qualifies as an "inherent danger and risk of skiing" under the Ski Safety Act of 1979, §§ 33-44-101 to -114, C.R.S. (2015). The definition of “inherent dangers and risks of skiing” in section 33-44-103(3.5), C.R.S. (2015), specifically includes “snow…

Juror’s Duty Includes Transparency & Adherence to Law

          When the verdict was announced, many were stunned - one juror in the Aurora Theater shooting case refused to give James Holmes the death penalty because of his mental illness. Two others were uncertain but were willing to continue talking about it, said Juror 17, who declined to give her name but admitted that she was the holdout. After three months of trial and quick determinations in the first two phases of the trial, the jury deliberated for seven hours before determining that a unanimous death sentence decision would not be reached. And for many,…