Colorado Court of Appeals

Amaya v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office.—2022COA131 (11/10/22). In this workers’ compensation appeal, the Court of Appeals concluded that the apportionment of death benefits among a deceased worker’s dependents under section 8-42-121, determines a dependent’s “proportionate share” of the maximum lump sum allowed by statute under section 8-43-406(3). The division thus affirmed the Industrial Claim Appeals Office order setting aside an order of the Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation and concluding that Sandra Amaya, a dependent of decedent, Angel Batista de Jesus, was entitled to 25% of the maximum lump-sum amount of Batista’s death benefits.

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

Wells Fargo Bank v. Stewart Title Guaranty Company. Court affirms diminution finding of district court—Docket: 21-4111 (10th Cir. 12/12/22). Wells Fargo Bank made a loan to Talisker Finance, Inc. Under the loan agreement, Talisker gave Wells Fargo a security interest in three parcels of land owned by Talisker’s affiliates. To ensure that Talisker’s affiliates had good title to the parcels, Wells Fargo bought title insurance from Stewart Title Guaranty Company. Talisker defaulted, but it couldn’t deliver good title to part of the land promised as collateral. The default triggered Wells Fargo’s right to compensation under the title insurance policy. Under that policy, Stewart owed Wells Fargo for the diminution in the value of the collateral. But the amount of the diminution was complicated by the presence of multiple parcels. The district court concluded that the lost parcel didn’t affect the value of the other parcels. After review, the Tenth Circuit concurred: because their values remained constant, the district court properly found that the diminution was simply the value of the collateral that Talisker’s affiliates didn’t own.

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