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15A2D44570E9CB2287258807007053C5 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For HB22-1272

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date Mar 16, 2022      
Location HCR 0107



HB22-1272 - Referred to the Committee of the Whole


02:26:59 PM  
The committee recessed.
02:31:09 PM  

The committee returned to order.  Representatives Gonzales-Gutierrez and Benavidez, prime sponsors, presented House Bill 22-1272, concerning the repeal of the provision awarding a defendant attorney fees in a tort action when the case is dismissed on motion of the defendant prior to trial.  Representative Gonzales-Gutierrez explained the effect of the bill and discussed its need. Representative Benavidez provided additional background on the bill and further discussed its merits. Representative Benavidez responded to questions regarding what options a judge has for awarding attorney fees in certain circumstances under the bill, and the frequency of the problem addressed by the bill.

02:43:37 PM  

Andrew LaFontaine, representing himself, testified in opposition to HB 22-1272. Trey Rogers, representing the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, testified in opposition to the bill. Kym Sorrels, representing Jefferson County, testified in opposition to the bill. Ms. Sorrels responded to questions regarding how often the county seeks attorney fees for frivolous cases. Mr. Rogers responded to questions regarding how often attorney fees are sought in cases deemed frivolous. Mr. LaFontaine responded to questions regarding how attorney fees are handled in frivolous circumstances in other states, and statutes of limitation for claiming attorney fees in such cases. Discussion ensued regarding the types of cases that would be impacted by the bill. Mr. Rogers responded to questions regarding the ability of plaintiffs to claim attorney fees in a suit dismissal. Discussion returned to attorney fee laws in other states. Ms. Sorrels responded to questions regarding how often motions to dismiss are granted, and for what purposes. Discussion followed regarding costs associated with attaining a motion to dismiss for frivolous cases. Ms. Sorrels responded to questions regarding claims of governmental immunity in certain circumstances.

03:32:30 PM  
Rachel Bender, representing the Colorado Municipal League, testified in opposition to HB 22-1272.

Jeffrey Ruebel, representing the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, testified in opposition to the bill.

Mr. Ruebel responded to questions regarding a case he cited during testimony.

03:43:03 PM  

Brad Levin, representing the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, testified in support of HB 22-1272. Sam Cannon, representing the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Levin responded to questions regarding cases involving statutes of limitation to which he alluded, and allegations of attorney malpractice based upon a frivolous lawsuit. Mr. Cannon provided input on the latter issue. Discussion ensued regarding exceptions from attorney fees for frivolous cases in certain circumstances, and how often motions to dismiss are sought in court based on the case being frivolous. Discussion followed regarding the potential dismissal of a retroactive sexual assault lawsuit under certain rules of court procedure.

04:35:01 PM  
Laura Wolf, representing the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, testified in support of HB 22-1272.

Nina DiSalvo, representing Towards Justice, testified in support of the bill.

Kenneth Maestas, representing the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, testified in support of the bill.

04:48:21 PM  
No amendments were offered to HB 22-1272. Representatives Benavidez and Gonzales-Gutierrez provided closing remarks in support of the bill. Various committee members provided their positions on the bill.


04:57:16 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 22-1272 to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Benavidez
Seconded Woodrow
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld No
Carver No
Daugherty Yes
Kipp Yes
Luck No
Lynch No
Roberts No
Woodrow Yes
Tipper Yes
Weissman Yes
Final YES: 6   NO: 5   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS






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