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Summer 2012

Summer 2012
From the Colorado Bar Association
Real Estate Section
To view this newsletter as a PDF, click here.
In this issue...
It’s Not too Late to Register!
The 30th Annual Real Estate Symposium—July 19–21

Steamboat Sheraton
Register Online Today!
Click here for a $50 Savings Coupon!

 

 

A New Title Standard on Corporate Seals
By Nicole R. Nies, Mastin Hoffman & Crews, LLC

The Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors adopted the following new title standard at its Spring 2012 meeting. The standard was developed by the Real Estate Law Section’s Title Standards Committee.

6.2.3  Corporate Seal

Problem:
A recorded instrument affecting title to real property is executed in the name of a private (non-governmental) corporation. It is executed by an individual identified as an officer of the corporation or individual authorized to convey, mortgage or lease real property on behalf of the corporation, and duly acknowledged in a form complying with Colorado statutes. There is no recital or other evidence that a corporate seal was affixed. Is title marketable in the absence of a corporate seal?

Answer: Yes.

Notes:
Although a number of Colorado statutes authorize adoption and use of a corporate seal by a private corporation, none requires its use to make an instrument binding upon the corporation. Section 38-30-144(1) C.R.S. provides that a private corporation may convey, mortgage or lease real estate in the manner authorized by articles 30 to 44 of Title 38 or by instrument under its common seal, subscribed by its president, vice-president, or other head officer. Section 38-30-144(2) C.R.S. provides that:

Any corporate instrument affecting title to real property, executed by the president, vice-president, or other head officer of the corporation, in the form required or permitted by law, shall be deemed to have been executed with proper authority in the usual course of business, and shall be binding and conclusive upon the corporation as to any bona fide purchaser, encumbrancer, or other person relying on such instrument.

The signature of the designated president, vice president or other head officer, under the corporate seal, is one means of making the instrument binding and conclusive upon the corporation, but other means available in articles 30 to 44 of Title 38 may also make the instrument binding and conclusive, notwithstanding the absence of a corporate seal. For example, Section 38-35-101(3)(c) C.R.S. makes an acknowledgement prima facie evidence that the person acknowledging the instrument is executing it as the described corporate officer, with proper authority from the corporation, as the act of the corporation; and Section 38 30 118 C.R.S. eliminates the need for a seal of the grantor as a condition to the proper execution of any conveyance affecting real property.

A Matter of Opinion
By Beat U. Steiner, Holland & Hart, LLP

Marc Dreier, who once headed a 250-lawyer New York law firm, in which he was the only equity partner (making him the envy of many) was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in 2009, following one of the more audacious financial frauds, setting side, of course, that of Bernie Madoff. On his way to issuing $200 million dollars of forged notes, which he sold to hedge funds, Dreier was forced to establish his credibility repeatedly. He spared no expense. He once even hired a former SEC enforcement lawyer as an impersonator for $100,000, and borrowed a conference room at Solow Realty, his main client and the putative note issuer, to meet a banker who insisted on seeing the principals in person.

Needless to say, obtaining a legal opinion from Dechert LLP, a major national law firm, addressed to Fortress Credit Corp., the subsidiary of a major hedge fund, opining that a $50 million note was “a valid and binding obligation” was a piece of cake. When the $50 million disappeared and Fortress was looking for defendants, Dechert rose to the top of the list. The lawsuit, brought in New York, claimed, among other things, fraud, legal malpractice and negligent misrepresentation.

The case against Dechert failed when the Appellate Division, First Department, in a Slip Opinion issued on November 29, 2011 (2011 NY Slip Op 08626), affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the case on a motion for summary judgment. For those who give legal opinions, the case is instructive on a number of points.

The first lesson is the importance of knowing your client. From a distance, Dechert easily can be forgiven for not smoking out Drier—he was a prominent lawyer with a good reputation and obviously a very good swindler. Clearly, however, there are enough bad people out there that lawyers who want to avoid nasty situations like this will be prudent whenever agreeing to represent someone who is totally unknown to them. In the Dechert case, the fraud claim failed specifically because the allegation that Dechert acted recklessly in failing to confirm that Solow Realty was in fact involved in the loan transaction was not sufficient scienter to support the claim, and there was no allegation that Dechert knowingly made false statements or was a knowing participant in the fraud.

Second, the Dechert case makes clear the importance of identifying the client in the opinion. Dechert escaped liability on legal malpractice grounds because Fortress was not its client.

The third lesson is the importance of stating the assumptions of the legal opinion, as well as its limitations. Dechert was not held liable for negligent misrepresentation because the opinion expressly assumed the genuineness of all signatures and the authenticity of the documents, and stated that Dechert made no independent inquiry into the accuracy of factual representations or certificates and undertook no independent investigation in ascertaining those facts. Moreover, the opinion, by its terms, provided only legal conclusions.

The final lesson is the importance of defining the scope of the engagement. The court held that Fortress could not sustain a claim for breach of the duty of care because Fortress did not inform Dechert that (a) its obligations were not limited solely to a review of the relevant and specified documents (which, presumably, the opinion stated was the scope of Dechert’s work to give the opinion) and (b) Dechert was to investigate, verify and report on the legitimacy of the transaction (the court apparently concluding that such an undertaking had to be expressly requested and was not implicit in giving the opinion).

The response among law firms that deal in legal opinions has been interesting. Opinion givers have taken note, and, if this has not been their practice already, are adding genuineness of signatures and authenticity of documents assumptions to their opinions. Many firms requesting legal opinions, on the other hand, have gone to opinion givers and insisted that these assumptions be removed from the opinions. Some have even insisted that an opinion be given as to the genuineness of signatures, at least as to the opinion giver’s client. These requests are wrong on at least two grounds. First, the genuineness of signatures is always a statement of fact and not a legal opinion, and legal opinions are supposed to be just that, not guaranties or factual opinions. Second, such a request violates the “golden rule”—you should not ask for an opinion that you would not give.

If an opinion giver has the proverbial “bullet to the head,” and must give a genuineness of signatures opinion (some governmental agencies absolutely will not allow the assumption), the opinion giver should carefully consider what level of due diligence is required to give the opinion responsibly. Certainly, an incumbency certificate should be obtained, but a certificate generally is not enough, as signatures on it can as easily be forged as on the documents covered by the opinion. Preferably, the documents should be signed in the opinion giver’s presence, and the opinion giver either should know the signatory personally or establish the signatory’s identity with a driver’s license or other appropriate documentation (copy to the file). Now that many closings take place without the signers ever physically appearing, and separate signature pages (sometimes with nothing but signatures on them—not even a reference to the document being signed), often transmitted electronically, are attached to documents by a paralegal, establishing certainty as to the genuineness of signatures can be quite an undertaking.

The Dechert case leaves an important question unanswered. Would the case have come out the same way if Dechert had not expressly assumed the genuineness of signatures in its opinion? If the members of the opinion committees of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and the American College Mortgage Attorneys, the American Bar Association TriBar report and the reports of most state bar associations are any indication, the answer should be yes. The genuineness of signatures is one of the assumptions that is, by common practice, implicit in every legal opinion. The assumption need not be stated. Indeed, including the assumption has the disadvantage of making legal opinions lengthier and more complicated, and mentioning some customary practice assumptions may allow someone relying on the opinion to argue that other customary practice assumptions which are not specifically mentioned were not intended.

So, what’s an opinion giver to do? Some will continue to follow the bare bones (perhaps, “purist”) approach and not state in their legal opinions any of the assumptions made by customary practice. Some will add to their opinions a blanket qualification that the opinion is based on all of the assumptions made in customary practice, referring perhaps to a standard like the ABA TriBar report or ACREL standards. The most cautious opinion givers will state the genuineness of signatures assumption, perhaps because the Dechert opinion has convinced them of the value of doing so.

High Altitude Discussion Lists—The Resource Continues
By Daniel A. Sweetser, The Sweetser Law Firm, P. C.

The High Altitude Discussion List continues as a valuable resource to all members of the Colorado Bar Association’s Real Estate Section. For any of you who may not be a part of the group yet, simply go to the CBA’s website – www.cobar.org – click on the “For Lawyers” link, then click on the “Listservs” link. From there you will be able to select the “Real Estate Law Section Listserv” and then you are in. Specific discussion topics are now listed and can be retrieved from the CBA’s website. To get there, again, select the “For Lawyers” link, then select “By Practice Area,” then select “Real Estate Law Section,” and, finally, select “Discussion List Index.” Some basic High Altitude Discussion List rules to follow are:

  1. Tailor your message to the issue being addressed or up for discussion, since that will tend to produce the best and most prompt responses from your colleagues.
  2. Please keep your messages as short and to the point as is consistent with conveying the substance of your thoughts. While direct posts to the discussion list are permitted, the High Altitude moderator reserves the right to edit messages for clarity, brevity and to eliminate redundant or inappropriate content. Profanity and obscenities are strictly prohibited. Following a warning, repeat violators will be permanently removed from the Discussion List by the moderator.
  3. Please sign your message with your full name. Among other things, this gives your colleagues the opportunity to consult directly with you on questions or issues that may have come up in discussion.
  4. Posting a subject line that reflects your message’s content affords your colleagues the ability to prioritize their reading. This is a significant consideration particularly when the list of subscribers is large and there is a high volume of transmissions.
  5. While undeniably useful, attachments can cause a number of unintended problems such as incompatible software, viruses and other bad things. Therefore, attachments to messages are not permitted at this time. If subscribers wish to share attachments, please arrange to do that outside of the High Altitude Discussion List through their personal electronic mailboxes.
  6. It is important to remember that all messages or replies are sent to the entire list, unless otherwise directed. Consequently, if you wish to transmit something of a more personal or private nature, please make sure that it is sent to the specific recipient intended. When at all possible, be sure to avoid replies that include prior correspondence, since this tends to slow down the discussion process. When you “reply” to a message, your message will be addressed to the email address established for the High Altitude Discussion List, thus posting your response to all subscribers.
  7. When creating your “out of office” automatic reply, ensure the subject line of your auto-reply email contains one of the following phrases: “Out of Office” or “Auto Reply.” This will avoid unnecessary posts to the entire list.
    Please note this is a change to the Discussion List Best Practices: Before it was necessary for members to unsubscribe while out of office to avoid unnecessary posts.
  8. A short message using simple formatting is your best bet to ensure that all the intended recipients can view your transmission without any difficulty.
  9. Advertising and solicitations for business are strictly prohibited.

Join in and enjoy the discussion!

Sender v. Cygan (In re Rivera), A New Bright Line Concerning Inquiry Notice
By Daniel A. Sweetser, The Sweetser Law Firm, P. C.

The general rule in Colorado for many, many years has been that when a deed, deed of trust, or other instrument affecting title to real property is recorded with a flawed legal description but a correct address for the property, individuals or entities subsequently dealing with the property are on inquiry notice that the recorded but flawed document affects title to the property.

The concept behind the rule is that chains of title are established through the grantor/grantee indexes maintained by the county clerks and recorders which track title based upon the names of the owners rather than the actual legal description for the property. If Smith, the current record owner of Lot 2, Block 3, XYZ Subdivision, 123 State Street, Anywhere, CO, conveys to new owner Jones Lot 3, Block 2, XYZ Subdivision, 123 State Street, Anywhere, CO a reasonable person would understand that Smith intended to convey the property he actually owned notwithstanding the faulty legal description. Decisions over the years have been made on a case by case basis, with the particular facts in each case driving whether a reasonable person would inquire further as to the intent of the parties to the conveyance.

In Sender v. Cygan (In re Rivera), the U.S. Bankruptcy Court certified the following question to the Colorado Supreme Court: “Whether a properly recorded deed of trust provides sufficient notice of a party’s interest in the property if the deed of trust contains no legal description and identifies the property only by a street address.” In its June 4, 2012 decision, the Supreme Court distinguished those cases in which a simply faulty legal description was included in a deed of trust, as opposed to no legal description at all, and answered the question in the negative, holding that a deed of trust completely devoid of a legal description cannot provide constructive notice to a subsequent purchaser.

Two related aspects of the Court’s decision are concerning. First, the Court stated that a deed of trust recorded sans a legal description is “defectively recorded” and that the recording is “void.” Second, in dicta, the Court states that without a legal description included, the deed of trust itself is invalid. Read together, these two holdings would indicate that a beneficiary under a deed of trust could never correct the error though re-recording even when the mistake was immediately discovered. The Supreme Court has granted a petition for rehearing in order to revisit those two related issues and, likely, additional argument on the long standing concept of inquiry notice in Colorado. More anon.

Our New Officers and Members

The Real Estate Section Council’s new officers and members for 2012–13 have been appointed:

  • Randy Alt, Moye White, LLP, will step into his new position as Chairman of the Council and Chris Payne, Ballard Spahr, LLP, will take Randy’s spot as Vice Chair.
  • Catherine Hance, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, moves into the officer track as the Council’s new secretary.
  • Joining the Council and beginning their three year terms in 2012 are Chuck Calvin, Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP, Nadia El Mallakh, Xcel, Chris Gunlickson, Holland & Hart, LLP, and Fred Peirce, Austin Peirce & Smith, PC.

A special thank you for all of his hard work and leadership goes out to Tom DeVine, Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP, who happily slides into his new role as Immediate Past Chair. Congratulations to one and all!

The 30th Annual Real Estate Symposuim in Steamboat—July 19–21!

The Section Council encourages everyone to make plans to attend the 30th Annual Real Estate Symposium at the Steamboat Sheraton. And, it’s not too late to register! Topics include:

  • Different Approaches to Buying and Selling Contaminated Property
  • Public Private Financing - Deal Structure Options
  • Legislative and Case Law Update
  • License Law for Dirt Lawyers
  • 2013 CREC Contract Forms
  • Common Water Law Issues Encountered in Real Estate Closings
  • Lurking Special Districts in a Distressed Market
  • Railroad Rights of Way in Colorado
  • The Life Cycle of a Client File: Creation, Retention, Destruction
  • Interstate Land Sales Act Update
  • Key Provisions, Strategies and Methodologies in Negotiating Leases
  • Ethics - Ten Tips to Truncate Tenuous Ethical Temptations
  • Back by Popular Demand! The 10-Minute Drill!

Go to our website to view the full Symposium brochure and register on-line today!
Click here for a $50 savings coupon to the Symposium!

Committee Reports

CBA Board of Governors

Peter J. Griffiths, Land Title Guarantee Company, currently serves as the Real Estate Section Representative to the CBA Board of Governors. Peter’s thorough report from the Spring Board of Governors’ meeting can be seen here.
Thanks to Peter J. Griffiths for this update. Contact Peter at pgriffiths@ltgc.com.

Legislative Policy Committee

During each legislative session of the Colorado General Assembly, members of the Real Estate Section Council (RESC) review, and in some cases, recommend to sponsor, propose changes to, and support or oppose propose legislation affecting real property. Any such actions by the RESC require the approval of the CBA Legislative Policy Committee (LPC), and in some instances, of either the CBA’s Board of Governors or Executive Council. Click here for more information on the policies and procedures of the LPC.

The RESC, in conjunction with the LPC, monitored more than 30 bills in the 2012 legislative session that were eventually signed into law by the Governor. A full report on the laws that may have an impact on your real estate practice will, as always, be a part of the Symposium this year. For a list of the bills monitored this year take a look here.

James G. Benjamin, Benjamin, Bain & Howard, LLC,, is the current Real Estate Section Liaison to the LPC.

Thanks to James G. Benjamin, Benjamin, Bain & Howard, LLC, for this update. Contact Jim at jgbenjamin@bbhlegal.com

Title Standards Committee

The Title Standards Committee of the CBA Real Estate Law Section is appointed by the RESC and the RESC is represented by a liaison to the Committee. “The charge of the committee is to consider current title problems and draft and propose title standards or legislation for their solution.”—Real Estate Title Standards (revised and effective July 1, 2010). The resulting Colorado Real Estate Title Standards address, “the impact of certain specified title issues on the marketability of title” and provide instructions, “as to the duties of an examining attorney and scope of a title search.” Id. The 2010 Colorado Real Estate Title Standards are available on the CBA website.

Julia Waggener, Waggener & Foster, LLP, jwaggener@waggenerfoster.com, currently serves as the Real Estate Law Section Liaison to the Title Standards Committee.
Suggestions for title problems for consideration by the Committee should be sent to Diane Davies, davies@faegre.com.
A report on new title standard 6.3.2 kicks off this newsletter.

Thanks to Geoff P. Anderson, Sweetbaum Sands Anderson, PC, for this update.

Trust and Estates Section

The Trusts and Estates Section, through its various standing committees, continues to work with the Real Estate Section on a number of different projects and legislative proposals of common interest to both sections. The Trusts and Estates Section continues to be in discussions with the Real Estate Section on a statutory provision addressing the issue of successor trustees dealing with real estate titled in the name of prior trustees who become disabled or have died.

David W. Kirch, David W. Kirch, P.C., currently serves as the Trusts and Estates Section Liaison to the Real Estate Law Section Council.

Thanks to David W. Kirch, David W. Kirch, P.C., for this update. Contact David at dkirch@dwkpc.net.

 

Real Estate Commission Forms Committee

Drafts of the proposed changes to the Colorado Real Estate Commission approved forms were submitted to the Division of Real Estate at the end of June. The Commission is to consider adopting the changes to the approved forms at its August 7 Public Hearing.

The Commission is to consider 43 forms: 17 forms (clerical) adopting the “shall” to “will” conversion, 25 forms with both substantive revisions and the clerical “shall” to “will” changes, and one new form, Green Disclosure, which was submitted by the Governor’s Energy office. The purpose of the “Green” form is to tout the energy and environmental attributes of the residence including appliances.

All of the significant form changes will be reviewed at the 30th Annual Real Estate Symposium.

The Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate will introduce changes to the Evidence of Title provisions, Section 7 and 8, allowing the parties to check a box to permit the Buyer to select the title insurance company (and pay the premium).

Substantial clarification of “Owner’s Extended Coverage” or OEC is separately covered as well as separate provision to specify which party will pay the OEC charges.

The Commission is to decide, at its hearing, to eliminate a requirement in the Contract that Closing Instructions be executed when the Earnest Money is transferred to the title company or other holder of the Earnest Money.

Changes have also been proposed to the Closing Instructions and Earnest Money Receipt.

Other forms with changes include all the Listing Contracts, primarily addressing the compensation of a broker, Agreement to Amend/Extend Contract, Amend/Extend with Broker, updating Lead-Based Paint Disclosure forms to reflect the increase of the Civil Imposed Penalty of up to $16,000 per violation.

The Forms Committee welcomes any suggestions, the earlier the better. Please send any recommendations to Kent Levine at Kent@Kent-law.com.

Kent Jay Levine, Kent Jay Levine, P.C. (Kent@Kent-law.com), currently serves as the Liaison to the Forms Committee. You can contact him at Kent@Kent-law.com.

Thanks to Kent Jay Levine, Kent Jay Levine, P.C., for this update.

Interprofessional Committee

The Real Estate Law Section is represented by liaisons to the Interprofessional Committee, whose purpose is to promote a better understanding among real estate professionals and whose members also (besides the CBA, represented by the Real Estate Law Section) include the Colorado Division of Real Estate, Colorado Association of REALTORS, the Land Title Association of Colorado, and the Colorado Division of Insurance.

The Real Estate Law Section’s current liaisons to the Interprofessional Committee are Candyce D. Cavanagh, Orten Cavanagh Richmond & Holmes (ccavanagh@ocrhlaw.com), and Peter J. Griffiths, Land Title Guarantee Co. (pgriffiths@ltgc.com).

Thanks to Candyce D. Cavanagh, Orten Cavanagh Richmond & Holmes, for this update.

Colorado Housing Council

The Real Estate Law Section is represented by liaisons to the Colorado Housing Council, whose purpose is to see to it that the public is better served in its housing needs through the advancement of communication among industry members, delivery of programs and information to the public, cooperation with legislative and regulatory bodies, and coordination with major employers and federal, state and local agencies. The current liaisons from the RESC are Catherine A. Hance, Davis, Graham & Stubbs, LLP (catherine.hance@dgslaw.com), and Deanne Stodden, Castle Meinhold & Stawiarski LLC (dstodden@cmsatty.com).

The Colorado Housing Council meets monthly on the third Wednesday of each month and has recently hosted programs on senior housing trends, LEED certification and energy efficiency issues, and insurance considerations for multifamily housing projects. In addition, meetings include a presentation on current foreclosure data for the Denver metropolitan area and selected additional areas by Ryan McMaken of the Colorado Division of Housing.

The Colorado Division of Housing’s current Housing News Digest can be found here and foreclosure reports can be found here. To read the Colorado’s Division of Housing’s current Housing Snapshot Report, Click here.

Thanks to Catherine A. Hance, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, for this update.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee of the Real Estate Law Section is reaching out to local bar associations to gauge interest in jointly organizing real estate CLE luncheons and programs in the communities served by the local bar associations. In the fall, the Membership Committee has plans to sponsor a CLE luncheon with the El Paso County Bar Association in Colorado Springs. Look for details about this program in the coming months.

Please contact Fred Otis of Otis Coan & Peters LLC (flotis@nocolegal.com) or Nicole R. Nies, Mastin Hoffman & Crews LLC (nicole@mastinlaw.com) if your local bar association is interested in organizing a joint real estate CLE program with the Real Estate Section’s Membership Committee.

Thanks to Nicole R. Nies, Mastin Hoffman & Crews LLC, for this update.

Community Service Committee

The Community Service/Charitable Committee will staff its second Law Line 9 of the year on July 11 with an emphasis on Landlord/Tenant law. The Committee is also exploring opportunities to develop a new relationship between the RESC and Metro Volunteer Lawyers.

Thanks to Rebecca Givens, Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC, for this update.

Ethics Committee

For newer lawyers, and anyone else who doesn’t already know about the services to the practicing bar that are provided by the CBA Ethics Committee, a summary follows.

The Committee has a “calling” subcommittee, also known as the CBA Ethics HotLine. If you have a question about whether something you want to do, or are being asked to do, is ethical, you can speak with a member of this subcommittee and get guidance. Here is the official statement regarding the HotLine from the CBA website:

Certain members of the Ethics Committee are available for BRIEF discussion of immediate ethical dilemmas or questions of the attorney calling the HotLine. Attorneys are asked to do their own research prior to calling the HotLine. HotLine inquiries are handled by individual members of the Committee to help identify ethical issues and do not necessarily reflect the thinking of the Committee as a whole. Please remember these practicing attorneys are doing this for free and usually can’t spend more than about 10 minutes per call. The HotLine attorneys are not there to do research for you. To contact the HotLine Members please call the CBA office at 303-860-1115 or 800-332-6736 (in-state only).

The HotLine will usually not give you the answer to your question, but will point you to applicable rules and help guide your analysis of the question. Many members of the calling subcommittee have served on the Ethics Committee for a decade or two and are very knowledgeable. This is a great option if you need immediate help.

Occasionally, a lawyer wants more than the thoughts of one person about a question (or did not like what the calling committee member had to say). In that case, the lawyer can request an informal letter opinion. This is an opinion that is approved by the entire Ethics Committee. Because the Committee meets just once a month and its members are extremely thoughtful and—this will be hard to believe—even argumentative, a letter opinion can rarely be obtained in less than 30-60 days and, depending on what else is on the Committee’s agenda, may take considerably longer than that. If the lawyer can wait, this option offers an actual Committee opinion, rather than the thoughts of one Committee member.

Informal letter opinions that the Committee thinks might be of interest to other lawyers are abstracted, with the abstracts published in The Colorado Lawyer and posted (eventually) on the Ethics page of the CBA website. Identifying information about the inquirer is removed and a draft abstract is provided to the inquirer for comment before publication.

Questions you may have about the dastardly deeds of opposing counsel are not appropriate topics for either a HotLine call or a letter opinion. The Committee does not answer questions of law, nor is it bound to respond to all requests for help. So, sometimes, the Committee opts not to answer a HotLine or letter opinion inquiry. Such a decision is not appealable to any higher authority!

Finally, as anyone who reads their Colorado Lawyers knows, the Committee issues formal opinions regarding ethical issues that the Committee thinks are important to a large number of lawyers.

Formal opinions are the subject of many hours of research, writing and debate by a subcommittee, review and discussion by the Committee at no fewer than two Ethics Committee meetings, and more research, writing and debate by the subcommittee between the two Committee meetings.

Because Committee members are volunteers with day jobs, this process usually takes a year or two to complete (six years in the case of one recent formal opinion!).

For obscure reasons, opinions of the Ethics Committee are not binding on the Colorado Supreme Court or the Office of the Attorney Regulation Counsel. That said, lawyers on the Ethics Committee who represent other lawyers in disciplinary proceedings believe that a lawyer who followed the advice or analysis of the Ethics Committee will receive more favorable treatment if a complaint is filed against the lawyer than one who did not attempt to do so.

Finally, with help from the CBA staff, the Ethics Committee maintains an Ethics page on the CBA website where anyone—both CBA members and non-members—can find links to the Rules of Professional Conduct, formal opinions, abstracts of letter opinions, and more. You can find this page by going to cobar.org and clicking on the Ethics link on the right side of the home page.

Thanks to Judy McNerny, Carpenter & Klatskin PC, for this update.

Courts & Civil Rules Committee

There is no new report for this newsletter.

Eminent Domain Committee

The Colorado Bar Association Real Estate Section’s Eminent Domain Committee continues to meet on a quarterly basis to study and keep bar members informed of developments in the field of eminent domain. Look for the Committee’s first newsletter in your email inbox by mid-July. If you are interested in assisting with future issues of the newsletter, or are generally interested in the Committee or its activities, please contact Richard Rodriguez at rrodriguez@dodpc.com or 303-779-0200.

Additional Information

For additional information regarding the activities and responsibilities of the members of the Real Estate Law Section Council, see the article “What Does the Real Estate Law Section Do For Me?” on the Real Estate Law Section page of the CBA Website.

Legal Writing Opportunities

Article Opportunities and Accolades—The Colorado Lawyer

The Real Estate Law Section encourages all aspiring authors to contribute articles (or even just ideas for articles) for publication in the real estate column of The Colorado Lawyer. Articles submitted need to provide a balanced discussion of new, developing or interesting areas relating to the practice of real estate law in Colorado or nationally. To encourage your creative energy, the Real Estate Law Section will honor the best real estate article published in The Colorado Lawyer during 2011/2012 with a stipend of $500 to the contributing author or firm. Articles should be submitted to Joseph Lubinski at Ballard Spahr, lubinskij@ballardspahr.com, Erik Foster at Moye White, erik.foster@moyewhite.com, or Cynthia Shearer at MDC Holdings, chshearer@mdch.com for consideration.

Articles, Practice Pointers, and Other Contributions Needed for Real Estate Law Section Newsletter

All members of the Real Estate Law Section are invited to contribute to the Newsletter. Please submit articles, practice pointers and other contributions to Daniel A. Sweetser, The Sweetser Law Firm PC, dsweetser@sweetserlaw.com, or Nicole R. Nies, Mastin Hoffman & Crews LLC nicole@mastinlaw.com.

Request for Input on Real Estate Section Web Page

We are working to improve the Real Estate Law Section page of the CBA website, and need your input and suggestions. Are there links or other information you have expected to find on the page only to have your hopes dashed? Have your discovered aspects of the site that you feel could be more user-friendly or informative? Please email your comments to Dana Collier Smith at dcolliersmith@cobar.org. We welcome your suggestions and we will carefully review all of them.

Real Estate Section Council and Committee Members
 
 
Council Officers
Chairman
Randall G. Alt
Moye White, LLP
1400 16th St, 6th flr
Denver, CO 80202
303-292-2900
randy.alt@moyewhite.com
Vice Chair
Christopher W. Payne
Ballard Spahr, LLP
1225 17th St, Ste 2300
Denver, CO 80202
303-292-2400
303-296-3956 (Fax)
payne@ballardspahr.com
Secretary
Catherine A. Hance

Davis, Graham & Stubbs LLP
1550 17th St, Ste 500
Denver, CO 80202
303-892-7375, 303-892-9400
303-893-1379 (Fax)
catherine.hance@dgslaw.com
Board of Governors Representative
Peter J. Griffiths
Land Title Guarantee Company
3033 E. 1st Ave., Ste. 600
Denver, CO 80206
303-331-6323
pgriffiths@ltgc.com

 

Legislative Policy Committee
James G. Benjamin
Benjamin, Bain & Howard, LLC
7315 E. Orchard Rd., Suite E400
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
303-290-6600
jgbenjamin@bbhlegal.com
Forms Committee
Kent Jay Levine

Kent Jay Levine, P.C.
3780 S. Broadway
Englewood, CO 80113
303-783-0222
kent@kjlpc.com
Ethics Committee
Judith McNerny
Carpenter & Klatskin PC
518 17th St., Suite 1500
Denver, CO 80202
303-534-6315
jmcnerny@ckdenver.com
Trust and Estates Section
David W. Kirch
David W. Kirch PC
3131 S. Vaughn Way., #200
Aurora, CO 80014
303-671-7726
dkirch@dwkpc.net
Real Estate Title Standards
Julia T. Waggener
Waggener & Foster LLP
600 S. Cherry Street, Suite 217
Denver, CO 80246
303-336-2135
jwaggener@waggenerfoster.com
Immediate Past Chairperson
Tom Devine
Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP
3200 Wells Fargo Center
1700 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203
303-607-3765
tom.devine@FaegreBD.com
Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee Liason
Frederick B. Skillern
Montgomery Little Soran & Murray, PC
5445 DTC Parkway, Ste 800
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(303) 773-8100
fskillern@montgomerylittle.com
Eminent Domain Subcommittee
Richard F. Rodriguez
Duncan, Ostrander & Dingess, PC
3600 S. Yosemite Street Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237-1829
303-779-0200
rrodriguez@dodpc.com
Council Members
Christopher A. Gunlickson
Holland & Hart, LLP
1800 Broadway, Ste 300
Boulder, CO 80303
303-473-2700
303-473-2720 (Fax)
cgunlickson@hollandhart.com
Frederick F. Peirce
Austin Peirce & Smith, PC
600 E. Hopkins Ave., Ste 205
Aspen, CO 81611
970-925-2600
970-925-4720 (Fax)
fpeirce@aps-pc.com
Charles Calvin
Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP
1700 Lincoln St, Ste 3200 Denver, CO 80202
303-607-2500
Charles.calvin@faegrebd.com

 
Nadia I. El Mallakh
Xcel Energy
1800 Larimer St, 11th Fl
Denver, CO 80202
303-294-2970
303-294-2988 (Fax)
Nadia.i.el.mallakh@xcelenergy.com
Rebecca B. Givens
Real Capital Solutions
1400 Infinite Dr, Ste E2
Louisville, CO 80027
303-533-1650
rgivens@realcapitalsolutions.com
Fred L. Otis
Otis Coan & Peters LLC
1812 56th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80634
970-330-6700
flotis@nocolegal.com
Deanne R. Stodden
Castle Meinhold & Stawiarski LLC
999 18th Street, Suite 2201
Denver, CO 80202
303-865-1400
dstodden@cmsatty.com
Daniel A. Sweetser
The Sweetser Law Firm PC
1741 High Street
Denver, CO 80218
303-321-3575
dsweetser@sweetserlaw.com
Erik K. Foster
Moye White, LLP
1400 16th Street, 6th Floor
Denver, CO 80202
303-292-2900
erik.foster@moyewhite.com
Jeffrey R. Bergstrom
Grimshaw & Harring PC
1700 Lincoln St., Suite 3800
Denver, CO 80203
303-839-3852
jbergstrom@grimshawharring.com
Cynthia H. Shearer
M.D.C. Holdings, Inc.
4350 S. Monaco St., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
303-804-7726
chshearer@mdch.com

 
Nicole R. Nies
Mastin Hoffman & Crews, LLC
7000 E. Belleview Avenue, Suite 320
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
303-217-4876
nicole@mastinlaw.com

 

Community Service and Charitable Committees
Rebecca B. Givens
Real Capital Solutions
1400 Infinite Dr, Ste E2
Louisville, CO 80027
303-533-1650
rgivens@realcapitalsolutions.com
Colorado Housing Council Committee
Catherine A. Hance
Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP
1550 17th St., Ste 500
Denver, CO 80202
303-892-7375
catherine.hance@dgslaw.com
Deanne R. Stodden
Castle Meinhold & Stawiarski LLC
999 18th Street, Ste 2201
Denver, CO 80202
303-865-1400
dstodden@cmsatty.com
Interprofessional Committee

Candyce D. Cavanagh
Orten Cavanagh Richmond & Holmes
1301 Washington Ave., Ste 350
Golden, CO 80401
720-221-9780
ccavanagh@orchlaw.com

Peter J. Griffiths
Land Title Guarantee Co.
3033 E.1st Ave., Ste 600
Denver, CO 80206
303-331-6323
pgriffiths@ltgc.com

 

Education Committee

CLE
Deanne R. Stodden
Castle Meinhold & Stawiarski LLC
999 18th St., Ste 2201
Denver, CO 80202
303-865-1400
dstodden@cmsatty.com

Christopher W. Payne
Ballard Spahr LLP
1225 17th St., #2300
Denver, CO 80202
303-292-2400
payne@ballardspahr.com

Jeffrey R. Bergstrom
Grimshaw & Harring PC
1700 Lincoln St., Ste 3800
Denver, CO 80203
303-839-3852
jbergstrom@grimshawharring.com

Topical Lunch
Fred L. Otis
Otis Coan & Peters LLC
1812 56th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80634
970-330-6700
flotis@nocolegal.com

Catherine A. Hance
Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP
1550 17th St., Ste 500
Denver, CO 80202
303-892-7375
catherine.hance@dgslaw.com

Publications Committee

The Colorado Lawyer

Erik K. Foster
Moye White, LLP
1400 16th St., 6th Flr
Denver, CO 80202
303-292-2900
erik.foster@moyewhite.com

Cynthia H. Shearer
M.D.C. Holdings, Inc.
4350 S. Monaco St., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
303-804-7726
chshearer@mdch.com

Section Newsletter

Daniel A. Sweetser
The Sweetser Law Firm PC 
1741 High St.
Denver, CO 80218
303-321-3575
dsweetser@sweetserlaw. com

Nicole R. Nies
Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons
1200 17th St, Ste 3000
Denver, CO 80202
303-623-9000
nicole@mastinlaw.com

 

 

 

 

Membership & Practice Development Committee

Fred L. Otis
Otis Coan & Peters LLC
1812 56th Avenue
Greeley, CO  80634
970-330-6700
flotis@nocolegal.com

Nicole R. Nies
Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons
1200 17th St, Ste 3000
Denver, CO 80202
303-623-9000
nicole@mastinlaw.com

 

CBA Staff

Dana Collier Smith
1900 Grant St., Ste. 900
Denver, CO 80203
303-860-1115
303-894-0821 (Fax)
email: dcolliersmith@cobar.org

Michael Valdez
1900 Grant St., Ste. 900
Denver, CO 80203-4309
303-860-1115
303-894-0821 (Fax)
email:mavaldez@cobar.org

 

CBA CLE

Gary Abrams
1900 Grant St., Ste 300
Denver, CO 80203-4309
303-860-0608
303-894-0624 (Fax)
gabrams@cobar.org

Heidi A. Ray
1900 Grant Street, Ste 300
Denver, CO  80203
(303-824-5392
303-894-0624 (Fax)
hray@cobar.org

 

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