Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

September 10, 2018

2018 CO 68. No. 17SC247. Munoz v. American Family Insurance Co.

In this case, the Supreme Court considered whether an insured is entitled to collect prejudgment interest when he settles an uninsured motorist claim with his insurer. The Court held that, under the plain language of the prejudgment interest statute, CRS § 13-21-101, an insured is entitled to prejudgment interest only after (1) an action is brought, (2) the plaintiff claims damages and interest in the complaint, (3) there is a finding of damages by a jury or court, and (4) judgment is entered. Because Munoz did not meet all of these conditions, the Court concluded he is not entitled to prejudgment interest.
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2018 CO 69. No. 17SC15. Przekurat v. Torres.

The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals. The Court held that, under the plain language of CRS § 12-47-801(4)(a), a social host who provides a place to drink alcohol must have actual knowledge that a specific guest is underage to be held liable for any damage or injury caused by that underage guest.


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2018 CO 70. No. 15SC163. Zoll v. People.

The Supreme Court held that when an appellate court determines that the trial court erred in failing to disclose certain documents from a file reviewed in camera, the proper remedy is to remand the case to the trial court with instructions to provide the improperly withheld documents to the parties and to afford the defendant an opportunity to demonstrate that there is a reasonable probability that, had the documents been disclosed before trial, the result of the proceeding would have been different. The Court also held that, even if the Court of Appeals erred in determining that replaying a small portion of a recording in the courtroom during deliberations was not a critical stage of the proceeding that required defendant’s presence, any error in failing to secure defendant’s attendance was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

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2018 CO 71. No. 18SA56. People v. Pappan.

In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court considered whether the trial court erred in suppressing two laser-sight rifles seized from defendant’s residence during a warrantless search conducted after defendant and two other occupants exited the residence. The Court held that the warrantless search was justified under the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement. More specifically, the Court concluded that (1) the officers had an objectively reasonable basis to believe there was an immediate need to protect their lives or safety by clearing the residence for other occupants, and (2) the manner and scope of the search was reasonable because it was protective in nature and narrowly tailored to neutralize the threat confronting the officers. The Court further held that the seizure of the laser-sight rifles was justified by the plain view doctrine. Accordingly, the decision of the trial court was reversed.

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