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Colorado Court of Appeals to hear arguments at Falcon High School on Nov. 15

Thursday, November 10, 2016

DENVER – The Colorado Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in two cases at Falcon High School in Peyton on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, before an audience of students. The public also is invited to attend.

The visit is part of the Colorado Judicial Branch’s Courts in the Community, the outreach program the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals initiated on Law Day (May 1), 1986. The Courts in the Community program was developed to give Colorado high school students firsthand experience in how the Colorado judicial system works and illustrate how disputes are resolved in a democratic society. These are not mock proceedings. The court will hear arguments in actual cases from which it will issue opinions. The court generally issues opinions within a few weeks of the arguments.

The 22 judges of the Colorado Court of Appeals sit in divisions of three judges to hear cases. Judges hearing cases at Falcon High School are Daniel M. Taubman, Stephanie Dunn and Karen M. Ashby.

The two cases are: 

  • 16CA0167, Donna Kovac v. Farmers Insurance Exchange: This case is about a two-year Colorado statute of limitations to file a claim for damages against an automobile insurance company. Donna Kovac was injured in a traffic accident and was offered $100,000 in damages from the insurance company that wrote the policy carried by the at-fault driver. Ms. Kovac and her husband signed a release indicating acceptance of the $100,000 settlement. Ms. Kovac later sought $750,000 in under-insured motorist coverage under two policies she had with Farmers Insurance Exchange. After Farmers offered $80,000 to settle the claim, Ms. Kovac sued Farmers in a case filed on April 3, 2015. A trial judge dismissed the lawsuit after concluding the lawsuit was filed two days after the statute of limitations expired. Ms. Kovac’s attorneys asked the Court of Appeals to review the case, arguing the trial court used the wrong date as a starting point to calculate when the two-year statute of limitations should have begun, and that the lawsuit was filed within that two-year period.
  • 14CA2354, The People of the State of Colorado v. Jared Cowen: Jared Cowen was convicted of check fraud, sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay about $22,500 in restitution to the company he hired to repair his truck. The repair shop, Elite Diesel, billed Mr. Cowen for $37,000 in repairs, nearly double the initial estimate. Mr. Cowen borrowed most of the amount required to pay the bill and gave the company two checks, one for $13,158 and the other for $9,327. Mr. Cowen’s brother gave the company a check to cover the rest of the charges. Mr. Cowen believed the repairs were not complete, however, so he stopped payment on the checks and Elite Diesel filed a police report. A jury convicted Mr. Cowen of check fraud involving the $9,327 check but acquitted him of the fraud charge involving the second check. The trial court imposed restitution on both counts, finding that Mr. Cowen intended to defraud Elite Diesel. Mr. Cowen asked the Court of Appeals to review the case, arguing the trial court could not impose restitution as a condition of probation for the check fraud count of which he was acquitted. He also is challenging portions of the instructions the trial court gave to the jury.

The proceedings will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Falcon High School, 10255 Lambert Rd., Peyton, CO 80831. A question-and-answer session, during which the students may ask questions of the attorneys, will follow the arguments in each case. At the conclusion of the second argument, the students also will have the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the Court of Appeals judges.

There will be a limited number of seats for the public. Audio recordings from the two arguments will be available online within one to two days of the arguments at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Court_Of_Appeals/Oral_Arguments/Index.cfm.

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