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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
January 27, 2014

2014 CO 4. No. 13SA148. In re Jones v. Samora, Clerk & Treasurer of the Town of Center.
Recall Election—CRS § 31-10-1307—Ballot Secrecy—Colo. Const. art. VII, § 8—Taylor v. Pile—District Court Error in Voiding Election.

The Supreme Court held that the district court erred as a matter of law in setting aside the results of a recall election in the Town of Center and ordering a new recall election. The district court interpreted Taylor v. Pile, 39 P.2d 670 (Colo. 1964), as placing a duty on it to void an election in which there was potential for a violation of the ballot secrecy provisions of Colo. Const. art. VII, § 8. The Court determined that the prohibition on “marked ballots” contained in § 8 was not intended to govern the use of detachable numbered stubs on paper ballots; rather, the use of detachable stubs is governed by statutory procedures. Although the election officials did not follow the proper procedures when counting the absentee ballots, their actions did not call into question the fundamental integrity or secrecy of the entire election. Taylor suggests that an election may be voided in a case where the election was conducted without a secret ballot; however, based on its factual findings in this case, the district court erred in declaring this recall election void. Accordingly, the district court’s judgment was reversed.

2014 CO 5. No. 11SC926. Harman-Bergstedt, Inc. v. Loofbourrow.
Workers’ Compensation—Temporary Total Disability Benefits—Maximum Medical Improvement—Final Admission of Liability—Division-Sponsored Independent Medical Examination.

Harman-Bergstedt, Inc. and its insurer sought review of a court of appeals’ judgment reversing a decision of the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (Panel). The Panel had disallowed claimant’s award of total temporary disability (TTD) benefits, reasoning that once her treating physician placed her at maximum medical improvement (MMI), notwithstanding the failure of her injury to result in any work loss, TTD benefits could not be awarded for the injury for which she initially had been treated in the absence of a division-sponsored independent medical examination (DIME) challenging that placement. The court of appeals found that under the unique circumstances of this case—including the fact that claimant had never been awarded TTD benefits and her employer had never filed a final admission of liability from which the statutory window for seeking a DIME could be measured—a DIME was not a prerequisite to an award of TTD benefits.

The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ judgment. The Court held that because a determination of MMI has no statutory significance with regard to injuries resulting in the loss of no more than three days or shifts of work time, claimant’s award of TTD benefits was not barred by her failure to first seek a DIME.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions