Congratulations to Denver Partner Devin S. Brunson and Senior Associate Gabriel Montalvo for successfully defending a complex matter involving statute of limitations, relation back, misapplication of law, and improper prosecution of claims for relief on appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals!
Plaintiff’s lawsuit was initially filed directly against BWB&O’s client’s insurer to preserve the statute of limitations as a direct action seeking relief based upon contractual benefits stemming from a motor vehicle accident. Subsequently, after realizing direct actions are not permitted against third-party carriers in Colorado, Plaintiff amended her complaint to assert a standard negligence cause of action against our client after the statute of limitations had already tolled. After briefing on our granted motion to dismiss and plaintiff’s denied motion to reconsider, the trial court awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.
Plaintiff thereafter appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals arguing that the trial court misapplied the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure and applicable legal authority regarding amending complaints after the statute of limitations has tolled. Through briefing, Mr. Brunson and Mr. Montalvo were able to make a substantial argument supporting their client’s position that there was no mistake in Plaintiff’s actions pursuing a direct action against their client’s insurer thereby precluding Plaintiff’s ability to pursue the negligence claim against their client.
After closure of briefing, the Colorado Court of Appeals Ordered Oral Argument on the issues at which Devin and Gabriel successfully and convincingly argued that there were no mistakes by Plaintiff, that Plaintiff’s intent and motive at all times were to pursue a direct action against their client’s insurer, and that there did not exist any form of relation back permitting Plaintiff to pursue a claim of negligence against their client. After Oral Argument, the Court of Appeals issued an Opinion ruling in favor of Defendant on all matters on appeal, and due to Plaintiff’s failure to appeal the trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees and costs, the Court of Appeals also upheld the trial court’s award.