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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
April 16, 2012

2012 CO 24. No. 09SC519. Hassler v. Account Brokers of Larimer County, Inc.
Secured Transactions—Statute of Limitations—Optional Acceleration Clause.

The Supreme Court held that the claim in this action was barred by the six-year statute of limitations. The Court found that, to determine when the statute of limitations is triggered for the recovery of a debt repayable in installments, the determining factor is not the date the debt became liquidated or determinable, but rather the date the debt was due. Here, the debt became due when plaintiff’s predecessor-in-interest unequivocally manifested its intent to invoke its optional acceleration provision by repossessing the collateral and demanding full payment from the debtor before the collateral could be redeemed. Because this acceleration occurred more than six years before the initiation of this action, the claim was barred by the statute of limitations. The district court’s judgment was reversed.

2012 CO 25. No. 12SA8. In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2011–2012 #3: Kemper v. Hamilton.
Ballot and Election—Single Subject—Clear Title.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Title Board’s determination that proposed initiative 2011–2012 #3 contains a single subject—“the public’s rights in the waters of natural streams.” The initiative thus complies with the Colorado Constitution and with CRS § 1-40-106.5. In addition, the initiative’s title, ballot title, and submission clause clearly and fairly express the single subject of the initiative, and therefore comply with the Colorado Constitution and with CRS § 1-40-106.

2012 CO 26. No. 12SA22. In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2011–2012 #45: Kemper v. Hamilton.
Ballot and Election—Single Subject—Clear Title.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Title Board’s determination that proposed initiative 2011–2012 #45 contains a single subject—“public control of waters.” The initiative thus complies with the Colorado Constitution and with CRS § 1-40-106.5. In addition, the initiative’s title, ballot title, and submission clause clearly and fairly express the single subject of the initiative, and therefore comply with the Colorado Constitution and with CRS § 1-40-106.

2012 CO 27. No. 10SA393. Reynolds v. Cotten, Division Engineer, Water Division 3.
Collateral Estoppel—Water Law.

Plaintiffs, ditch owners who were diverting water from La Jara Creek, appealed to the Supreme Court from an order of the water court denying their claim for declaratory relief. Plaintiffs sought a declaration that their appropriative rights to La Jara Creek water were not limited to water flowing into the creek from the San Luis Valley Drain Ditch. Without directly addressing the merits of their claim, the water court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants on the ground that substantially the same issue had been litigated and decided against plaintiffs in a prior declaratory judgment action involving the same parties or their predecessors in interest. Specifically, the water court concluded that all of the water rights of the parties in La Jara Creek were not only at issue but were in fact finally determined in the prior litigation, and therefore plaintiffs’ current claim of entitlement to non-drain native La Jara Creek water had been implicitly resolved against them in the judgment concluding that litigation.

The Court found that plaintiffs’ entitlement to non-drain native La Jara Creek water was not actually determined in the prior litigation, either expressly or by necessary implication. It therefore reversed the summary judgment of the water court and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

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