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Diversity of Jury Pool Critical to Fair Outcomes

In a recent article by Charles F. Coleman, Jr., Esq., "Jury Duty: Why We Can't Afford to Dodge It," published by The Root, civil rights attorney Coleman argues why jury service is important, especially in African American communities, to achieving equality under the law. Coming off a recent federal jury trial, he noted with disappointment the lack of diversity within his jury pool, and moreover, the eagerness of the few diverse jurors to get out of serving. Coleman rightly observes that "[t]he Constitution grants us the right to a speedy trial in front of a jury of our peers. If our peers don’t participate, however, how can we ensure fairness?"

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Insurance Bad Faith Claim Before Colorado Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court heard argument on Thursday, June 4, 2015 in American Family Mutual Insurance Company v. Hansen, Case No. 14SC99, an insurance bad faith case. At the court of appeals level, the court held that an insurance company's characterization of a claim for coverage as "fairly debatable" is not enough to establish that the insurance company acted reasonably when it delayed or denied payment of insurance benefits. At trial, the jury found that the insurance company unreasonably delayed and denied coverage to its insured pursuant to C.R.S. 10-3-1115 and 10-3-1116, and the court thereafter awarded statutory penalties, including attorney fees, costs, and "two times the covered benefit," or $150,000 ($75,000 x 2). The court of appeals clarified that the appropriate statutory penalty is double the amount of benefits owed and for which payment was delayed--not double the amount of damages awarded by the jury. American Family appealed the ruling, which upheld the trial court's award of $150,000 plus attorney fees and costs.

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Your Place or Mine?: The Burden of Proving Collectability of an Underlying Judgment in a Legal Malpractice Action

While burdens of proof at trial do not necessarily equate to the awkwardness of a come-on during a date, the question “your place or mine” is still relevant to both, at least in Colorado. This article examines the seemingly unanswered question lingering in Colorado law as to whether a legal malpractice plaintiff bears the burden of proving collectibility of an underlying judgment in order to establish a prima facie case or whether a defendant bears the burden of proving collectability as an affirmative defense. Is it your place to prove it or mine?

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