In October of 2022, the Colorado Court of Appeals, Division VII rendered an opinion in MLS Properties LLC v. Weld County Board of Equalization.  While this case is the first to reach the Colorado Court of Appeals, there were, at the time, twelve similar claims pending throughout Colorado. In these cases, the most notable issue was how to interpret C.R.S. 39-1-104(11)(b)(I), which allows a taxpayer to have their property revalued by the county assessor to account for “unusual conditions” (the “Unusual Conditions Statute”).Continue Reading Property Taxes and Unusual Conditions

On Monday, January 9th, 2023, the Denver City Council voted to pass a new wage theft ordinance, which provides greater authority to the City Auditor’s Office to ensure employees are paid their promised wages.  Denver’s existing minimum wage ordinance continues to allow employees to file complaints to the City Auditor’s Office (the “City Auditor”) and provides employees with a right of private action to recover unpaid wages plus interest. The new wage theft ordinance establishes a civil violation for wage theft violations whereby employees can submit complaints to the City Auditor and the City Auditor will pursue the complaint and seek restitution on the employee’s behalf. 
Continue Reading Wage Theft Ordinance Passes in Denver

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 065, temporarily suspending certain statutory requirements governing the distribution, signing, and certification of ballot measures for the November 2020 election. The Order would, among other things, permit campaigns for ballot measures that have titles set or pending before the Colorado Supreme Court to collect signatures electronically by e-mail or by mail, rather than requiring a petition circulator to obtain signatures in person. It would also give campaigns additional time to collect and submit the required number of signatures. The Order directed Colorado’s Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, to issue temporary rules to accommodate these changes. A coalition of business organizations immediately challenged the Order in court, questioning whether the Governor has the power to unilaterally alter the state’s election laws.
Continue Reading Colorado’s Governor Issues Executive Order Relaxing Requirements for November 2020 Ballot Measures; Business Groups Sue

Rose Mary Knick in front of the Supreme Court. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Knick v. Township of Scott, in which the Court ruled that a plaintiff in a takings claim need not first exhaust state-court remedies before bringing the claim before a federal court.  The decision, addressing a largely procedural matter, is expected to lead to an increase in federal court litigation involving takings issues, and likely increases the chances that local governments may be required to compensate landowners where regulation devalues private property.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules That Takings Claims Can Be Brought In Federal Court, Reversing 30-Year-Old Precedent

Resolute’s proposed self-storage facility is shown in the graphic above. Source: Resolute Investments.

In May, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the City of Thornton’s approval of a specific use permit for a self-storage facility against a challenge brought by a competitor self-storage facility.  While the court’s decision in Stor-N-Lock Partners #15, L.L.C. v. City of Thornton was a victory for the defendants, including the city and the developer, the court ruled that defendants in Rule 106(a)(4) actions may not recover delay-induced damages through the imposition of a bond.  Otten Johnson attorneys Brian Connolly and Bill Kyriagis represented the defendant landowner and developer, CenturyLink and Resolute Investments, Inc., respectively, throughout the proceedings.

In the case, Resolute obtained the city’s approval of a specific use permit for its project.  A neighboring self-storage facility challenged the approval under Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 106(a)(4), which allows for judicial review of quasi-judicial decisions by local government bodies.  The plaintiff alleged that the approval of the specific use permit did not improve the welfare of its property, which was one of the Thornton code’s criteria for the issuance of a specific use permit.  The district court affirmed the city’s decision but denied the defendant’s motion to require the plaintiff to post security in an amount that would cover the defendant’s losses incurred as a result of litigation-related delays. 
Continue Reading Colorado Court of Appeals: Court Should Defer to City Council’s Code Interpretations, But No Bond for Rule 106 Defendants