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April 2007

CBA LITIGATION COUNCIL
April 7, 2007 MEETING MINUTES


LOCATION:  CBA offices, Denver, CO

COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT:

In Person: 
   

Chair:  Peter Black
Vice Chair:  Alden Hill
Mickey Smith
Larry Schoenwald
Sandra Wick Mulvany
Doran Matzke
Rich Caschette
Lorraine Parker
Jon Sands
                   
Via Telephone: Peter Goldstein
                
OTHERS PRESENT: Greg Martin; Brock Wood (CBA – CLE)

1.    CALL TO ORDER:  9:08 AM

2.    SPEAKERS:

Pam Gagel, Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver.  Overview of the Institute:  The Institute was envisioned as an independent think tank on reforming the legal system.  Is not part of DU Law School.  Now have a staff of 7.  Started 15 months ago.  Agenda contained in their brochure (distributed at the meeting).   Are strong supporters of jury trials; that process for resolving disputes should be available to everyone, without being cost prohibitive and without excessive delay.  Projects currently working on:  (a) pilot survey out to ADR providers JAG and JAMS to gather information from participants;  (b) any traction in rewriting the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Oregon is a happy place for judges and lawyers because the never adopted the FRCP); (c) survey re 16.1; (d) e-discovery; (e) adequacy of judicial salaries; (f) judicial selection – merit selection and retention nationwide; (f) fall symposium on case management and cost of litigation.  Two publications have been generated on judicial selection; may be downloaded from the website.  The Judicial Performance Evaluation system sunsets in January 2009; Institute committed to looking at ways to improve the current system.  The Institute’s proposals include:  Due to a perception that it is run by SCAO, one idea is to make it an independent agency with additional budget to have a public education function.  JPE is cash-funded by traffic fines levy and criminal cases; would not come out of the state judicial budget.  Fund will have $1.5M in the JPE budget next year.  Make it bipartisan.  Take the Chief Justice off the state committee to remove perception that Supreme Court is evaluating itself.  Have mandatory mid-term evaluations to use as a tool for judges to assess their own performance and make improvements in advance of evaluations released to public for retention elections.  Publishing the data broadly re how many judge stand for retention and how many resign although eligible to stand for retention in order to counter John Andrews’ contention that judges are rarely non-retained.  Per Greg Martin:  CBA President Elizabeth Starrs has appointed a task force to look at the judicial selection and retention process; goal is to have proposed legislation drafted and approved by BOG and CBA sections by 12/1/07.  Also looking at restoring judicial training budget cuts and instituting judicial training before new judges take the bench.  Judges concerned about how few evaluations are returned, thus their evaluations based on very few completed surveys.  Problem raised by Council members is limited contact with the courts; may have no hearings until the day of trial.  Another project to track how long it takes for judges to rule on motions – a statistic available for each judge in Oregon.  One problem is relating the order to the motion.  Federal system uses Pacer across the country; are studying that system.  Alden Hill suggested having Magistrates evaluated under the same system as judges. 

Sue Borgess, former Chair of Law Technology Group, and a sub-committee of Litigation Section appointed to look into providing information to Section members regarding technologic compatibility of courthouses around the state.  The sub-committee developed a survey of courtroom technology, but is having difficulty getting information from each courtroom around the state due to volunteer attrition.  Consensus: trial attorneys should contact courtrooms themselves to determine technologic capabilities; perhaps try to update Litigator’s Handbook with such info.

3.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  The March 3, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved by unanimous vote after motion.

4.    FINANCIAL REPORT.  Greg Martin presented the attached financial report.  There is approximately $52,000.00 remaining in the budget after deducting the $10,000 amount to the Mock Trial Program and $5,000 for Professionalism vignettes.

5.    COMMITTEE AND SUB-COMMITTEE REPORTS:

A.    Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee.   Peter Goldstein reported that the SCRC has been working through problems created by changes relating to the prior 7-day deadlines being changed to 11 days.  There are several problems in the County Court rules – still working to coordinate county court rules with district court rules.  Almost finished with this issue.  Next phase will be responding to any additional changes or remarks then the Court publishes the proposed rule changes.

B.    Professionalism Committee.  Robert Anderson not present.  Greg reported an all-day meeting was held to work on scripts, and one day of taping done at Holland & Hart.  Mark Fogg, Pres.-elect of DBA and John Gleason have been involved.  Process is going well; a number of people involved and enthusiastic about the project.

C.    Securities Sub-Section.     No report.  Sub-section has not met in nine months.

D.    Appellate Practice Committee.  No report.
       
E.    Section Newsletter.  Kim sent a draft newsletter out; send her any comments or feedback as will go out in about a week.

6.    LEGISLATIVE UPDATE.  Greg Martin reported on the following bills/issues:

A.      HB 1054 – original proposal was to add 63 Colorado judges over a four-year period.  Greg reports that a proposed amendment reduced the number of judges to 43 over 3 years; has turned into the partisan bill of the session because it is the only bill the Republicans have an real power to stop due to the requirement of a 2/3 vote.

7.    OLD BUSINESS

A.    Preemptory Challenges Practices.   Jon Sands will contact Jerry Maroney.

B.    Revisions to Dead Man Statute.  Lorraine Parker will contact Michael Valdez.

C.    Speakers for Future Meetings.  Justice Mullarkey will be invited to attend the May 5, 2007 meeting; trying to get Jerry Maroney for June 2, 2007 meeting.

8.    NEW BUSINESS.

A.     Need to consider election of officers at May meeting, determine if there is interest in serving on Council through newsletter, and need to find replacement for Megan Brynhildsen, and determine interest in remaining on Council.

B.    Summer Litigation Council meetings.  Greg provided discussion:  Usually do not have a September meeting.  For a baseball meeting, there are games on June 2, June 16, July 7, July 28, August 11 and 25 and September 8.  Greg suggests taking July off; August 25 may be a good date to target as the late July meeting did not work well due to conflicts on people’s calendars.  Meet October 1.

C.    E-filing.  Greg reported that the single biggest complaint re e-filing is the cost.  Federal system is free; pro se litigants do not have to pay. 

9.     ADJOURNED.   11:28 AM   -- Next Meeting – May 5, 2007 at CBA offices, 9:00 AM.  Upcoming meetings June 2, no July meeting, August meeting may be in the afternoon of 8/25 followed by a baseball game.

Prepared by:

 DRAFT

/s/ Lorraine Parker                   
for Michael Chapman, Secretary


Approved:   _________________________
            (date)