RQ Law Blog

COLORADO SELECT CASE LAW UPDATE

Colorado Court of Appeals

Suydam v LFI Fort Pierce“Going and coming” rule was discussed; realignment of parties during trial - (CA 10/08/20). The Court of Appeals analyzed the scope of the “going-and-coming” rule, which applies to the issue of whether an employer may be held liable for damages caused by the negligence of one of its employees while the employee is commuting between work and home or another personal destination. The Court found that the evidence presented at trial did not support the instruction. A second issue on which the Court ruled was the novel procedural issues arising from the voluntary dismissal of a plaintiff’s claims against fewer than all defendants before or during trial under and the district court’s change in a party’s status from defaulted defendant to nonparty at fault during trial. The division concluded that the change in the party’s status did not prejudice the appealing defendant because the district court instructed the jury that the nonparty was liable to plaintiffs.

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

Speidell v. United States Court rejects marijuana company’s objections to IRS subpoenas - Docket: 19-1214 (10th Cir. 10/20/20). The Appellants objected to the IRS’s attempts to collect and audit information about their marijuana-related business practices, arguing: (1) the IRS investigation was quasi-criminal, exceeded the Agency’s authority, and was being conducted for an illegitimate purpose; (2) even if the investigation had a legitimate purpose, the information sought was irrelevant; and (3) the investigation was in bad faith and constituted an abuse of process because (a) the IRS may share the information collected with federal law enforcement agents, (b) the IRS summonses are overly broad and require the creation of new reports, (c) the dispensaries had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the data they tender to state regulatory authorities, and (d) those state authorities could not provide the requested information without violating Colorado law. The Appellants further contended the district court applied the wrong standard of review when it denied motions to quash and granted motions to enforce the summonses. Relying on the reasoning outlined in Standing Akimbo, LLC v. United States, 955 F.3d 1146, 1150–69 (10th Cir. 2020), the Tenth Circuit rejected Appellants' arguments and affirmed the district court's rulings in favor of the IRS.

Other cases of interest

Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. United Rentals, Inc. – First Circuit holds tortfeasor’s policy is obligated to indemnify rental company - Docket: 18-1588 (1st Cir. 10/2/20). In this insurance coverage dispute, the First Circuit vacated the decision of the district court holding that United Rentals, Inc. was entitled to defense costs from Scottsdale Insurance Company as an additional insured and that the Scottsdale policy afforded additional insured coverage to United Rentals for its direct and vicarious liability but that this coverage was excess above United Rentals' own coverage under its policies with ACE American Insurance Company. Gomes Services, Inc. contracted with United Rentals to rent an electric boom lift. While operated by a Gomes employee, the lift struck and injured Guy Ayotte. Ayotte sued United Rentals and Gomes. At the time of the accident, Gomes was insured by Scottsdale under a policy that extended coverage to any party that Gomes was required by written contract to add as an "additional insured." United Rentals requested that Scottsdale defend and indemnify United Rentals. After the district court made its ruling both parties appealed. The First Circuit held (1) Scottsdale had a duty to indemnify United Rentals in the Ayotte action for both its direct and vicarious liability; and (2) United Rentals' relevant policies did not qualify as "valid and collectible insurance," and therefore, the Scottsdale policy afforded coverage to United Rentals.

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