CBA LITIGATION COUNCIL
March 7, 2009 MEETING MINUTES
LOCATION: CBA offices, Denver, CO
COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT:
Chair: Peter Black
Vice Chair: Alden HIll
Via Telephone: Sandra Wick Mulvany, Mike Chapman (filling in as secretary for Lorraine Parker)
OTHERS PRESENT: Greg Martin; Brock Wood (CBA – CLE)
1. CALL TO ORDER: 9:00 AM
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The January 10, 2009 Meeting Minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
2. FINANCIAL REPORT. Greg Martin presented the attached financial report, noting that $12,000 for the mock trial program will soon be paid. Greg also reported that the Colorado Bar membership is up slightly from the previous year, and that he would provide more detailed report as to the litigation section membership at the next meeting.
Neither the CBA nor the Litigation Section dues will be increased for the next year.
3. GUESTS: Chief Judge of the 4th District Kirk Samelson (by phone) Judge Samelson commented on the following issues:
? Current State Judicial Budget Issue.
o State Judicial has been asked to reduce its budget by $21M this year, which reflects an 8-9% reduction. As a result, there will be a delay in hiring new judges and the delay will likely be through July 2010 and this delay is anticipated on saving $3M.
o Each district is to reduce staff to a level of 85% of current level, primarily through attrition. The 4th district is currently at an 89% level for staffing. State judicial staff must also take furlough days, and the staffing decrease and furloughs are expected to cu about $14M.
o No pay raises for any judicial personnel and likely no judicial conferences and no out of state travel.
o The replacement of computers will be delayed.
? 4th Judicial District status.
o Currently have 20 state court judges, 11 county court judges and 11 magistrates. Every state court judges is expected to cover two out of four areas of the law at one time (criminal, civil, juvenile and domestic), and there is no specific planned rotation.
o The have two specialty courts: a drug court and a family drug court, both of which are staffed with part-time magistrates.
o The have a criminal mediation program that has had significant success.
o The have an office of dispute resolution for all domestic and civil cases.
o There were approximately 6800 new civil filings in the past year and they closed out about 7100 civil cases in the same time period.
o He believes that the civil attorneys manage their cases fairly well and mentioned that in some matters he has appointed a discovery master or set-up a procedure for discovery hearings as needed. Overall, he is impressed with the quality of lawyers that appear before him.
o Court staff are overworked and underpaid, and he is concerned for Court personnel.
? E-file system.
o He thinks the system is working fairly well and wants attorneys to know that may take a few days after a document is filed before it is brought to the judges attention. He suggested that if a party is attaching numerous documents to a pleading that they may want to deliver a paper copy to judge’s clerk, or at least ask the clerk if this will be of benefit.
o He agrees that there should not be any local rules for e-filing.
4. Committee and sub-committee reports
a. Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee (Peter Goldstein) Peter reported that the Rules Committee is relatively calm and has been performing ad ministerial tasks for the past 5 months. Peter recently posed questions to the committee about the appellate rule requiring that authorities cited in briefs be hyperlinked, and the technical problems associated with this requirement, and the committee will be looking into the issue.
b. Board of Governors (Jon Sands and Andy Toft) There will be a May 9, 2009 meeting.
c. Securities Sub-Section (Rich Caschette) No report. Greg Martin reported that two section members have expressed an interest in becoming the liaison for the sub-section to the Council and it was decided that the two members be offered co-chair positions.
d. Appellate Practice Sub-Section (still no rep.) No report. Greg Martin will follow-up with the subsection to see if a liaison will be appointed from the Sub-Section.
e. Class Action Sub-Section (Paul Karlsgodt) No report.
f. Consumer Law Sub-section (Mark Kraynak) No report.
g. CLE update (Brock Wood) Brock addressed the programs listed on the CLE handout provided and spoke about other upcoming programs not listed on the handout. CLE is doing download on demand programs of previous live webcast programs. Such programs allow CLE to cut longer programs into one or two hour segments and also allows CLE to provide timely programs on narrow issues.
h. Legislative (Michael Valdez absent) No Legislative report. However, Greg Martin addressed the CBA’s concern that that the Legislature has taken back the judicial performance evaluation commission’s surplus fund and the CBA wants to see that the monies remain available to state judicial rather than go back into the general fund. Greg also reported that the State is counting on Federal stimulus money to assist with Budget and that proposed legislation that includes a fiscal note does not stand a good chance of being passed.
5. NEW BUSINESS:
a. Dues for next year: -- no plan to increase dues next year. The Litigation Sections dues for year 2010 will likely be done by e-commerce (on-line).
b. Selection of volunteers as liaisons and for newsletter Greg reported on the number of individuals that have responded to our request for participation as liaisons and to assist in preparation of the Section’s newsletter. Three people have expressed their interest in assisting in preparing a Newsletter. Greg will get resumes from each and the Council will review and solicit at least one to join the Council. Greg reported that the Section’s Newsletter would soon be reformatted to look better and easier to read.
c. Food drive: Greg explained how the Denver based food drive program was conducted and the need throughout the state.
MOTION: Alden Hill made a motion that the Section donate $2500 out of Section funds to be equitably distributed between recognized food banks located throughout the state of Colorado. Motion was passed unanimously with understanding that Greg and CBA staff will administer disbursement.
d. Statewide e-file training: Greg discussed the Lexis statewide training program that is supposed to begin in the near future. Depending upon how this program comes together, there may be an opportunity for the Section to assist local bars associations with the training program.
e. ABA Day in Washington-Council concerns or issues. Pete and Greg reported on the upcoming ABA day in Washington and the fact that Legal Services Corporation (where Colorado legal services gets the bulk of its funding) will likely stay the same level of federal funding, or may increase slightly.
f. Special Rules on e-filing. This issue the problem with local or special rules on e-filing is moving forward. Pete Black related a specific problem in the Water Court for the 4th District (Montrose) and its requirement that you are preauthorized to e-file.
6. OLD BUSINESS.
a. Litigation Website updates and creation of an electronic “suggestion box” for Litigation Section members. Greg Martin reported that the electronic “suggestion box” is a work in progress.
b. Updated Litigator’s Handbook (newly appointed judges and other updates) Greg Martin reported that all new judges have been added to the Litigation Website (Handbook).
c. Speakers for coming meetings: Chief Judge Jackson for the April 4 meeting and Chief Judge Ruckriegle from the 5th in May. We will likely have Supreme Court Chief Judge Mullarky at the June meeting.
d. Review of Trusts and Estates proposal re: Dead Man Statute. To be addressed at the next meeting.
e. Proposed amendment to Notary Statute. Andy Toft reported on a proposed amendment to notary statute (providing a handout) that would require that a notary maintain a log of every notary act. The Council decided that the real estate and probate/trust and estate sections better address this issue and that the Litigation Section will take no position.
f. Recommendation to State Court Administrators Office on uniform E-filing procedures for district courts. This issue is being addressed.
g. Alden Hill reported on recent events in the Fort Collins and the retirement of a well-respected judge.
7. ADJOURNED. 11:00 a.m. -- Next Meetings – April 4, May 2 and June 6, 2009 at CBA offices, 9:00 AM.
/s/ Michael Chapman
for Lorraine Parker, Secretary
Approved: _______________________[April 4, 2009]
E:\WP\CBA\Minutes\CBA LITIGATION COUNCIL Meeting Minutes (March 7 2009).doc