Colorado Court of Appeals

Gregory v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America – Court of Appeals declines to extend notice-prejudice rule to residential property claims – 2022COA45 (4/21/22). The Court of Appeals considered whether Colorado’s notice-prejudice rule applies to a notice-of-loss provision in a homeowners’ insurance policy. This rule excuses an insured’s late filing of a claim when the insurer is unable to demonstrate that its interests were prejudiced by the late notice. Concluding that the Supreme Court has not yet extended the notice-prejudice rule to first-party claims under homeowners’ policies—or authorized the Court of Appeals to do so—the Court instead determined the older, traditional rule still applied to such policies. The Court also considered whether a provision of an insurance policy requiring an insurer to give notice within 365 days of a covered loss is invalid under section 10-4-110.8(12)(a), of the Colorado Homeowner’s Reform Act of 2013. This provision provides that homeowners may still file suit against their insurer within the applicable statute of limitations notwithstanding any provision in their insurance policy that requires homeowners to file suit within a shorter time period. The division concluded the 365-day notice provision in question does not contravene this statute as it did not effectively shorten the statute of limitations period, but rather defines a circumstance in which an insured breaches the contract and forfeits entitlement to coverage benefits for an otherwise covered loss.

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal

United States v. Murry – Tenth Circuit affirms denial of request to examine prospective jurors on implicit bias – Docket: 20-1214 (4/19/22). Three out of four defendants in consolidated cases identified as minorities, and two were illegal immigrants. They claimed the district court abused its discretion in failing to ask the potential jurors whether they harbored racist views. One defendant posited that if “America as an institution harbors racial prejudice in the context of immigration law, it stands to reason that some members of that same institution also harbor similar views.” However, the Supreme Court has long held that no constitutional presumption of juror bias existed for or against members of any particular racial or ethnic groups. Thus, the Tenth Circuit declined to create such a presumption in these cases, finding that without any substantial indication that racial or ethnic prejudice likely affected the jurors, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendants’ requests to directly examine the jurors about the subject.

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