Summaries of Selected Opinions, 0420 COBJ, Vol. 49, No. 4 Pg. 74

Position:Vol. 49, 4 [Page 74]

49 Colo.Law. 74

Summaries of Selected Opinions

No. Vol. 49, No. 4 [Page 74]

Colorado Lawyer

April, 2020


No. 19-1025. Hill v. Warsewa.

1/23/2020. D.Colo. Judge Kelly. Prudential Standing— Easementfor Public Use—Sovereign Immunity—Generalized Grievance—Constitutional Standing.

Plaintiff filed an action in Colorado state court alleging that the defendant landowners tried to exclude him from a spot on the Arkansas River where he likes to fly-fish. The landowners contend they own the Arkansas riverbed up to its centerline at plaintiff's fishing spot. Plaintiff contends the property is subject to an easement for public use. The landowners removed the action to the district court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. Plaintiff added the State of Colorado (State) as a named defendant. The landowners and the State moved to dismiss. The district court held that plaintiff lacked prudential standing because he asserted the rights of a third party and alleged only a generalized grievance, and it dismissed the case.

On appeal, plaintiff argued that the district court erred by finding that he lacked prudential standing to bring his claims. As an initial matter, he argued that the district court erred by analyzing prudential standing before sovereign immunity and constitutional standing. However, a federal court may choose among threshold grounds for dismissing a case. On the merits, under the prudential standing doctrine, a party's claims may not r est on the rights of third parties where it cannot assert a valid right to relief of its own. Here, plaintiff asserted a right in himself: his own right to fish. While his purported right comes to him by virtue of die State's title, his claims do not turn on die superiority of the sovereign's property right. Further, whether plaintiff's claim is a generalized grievance is part of a constitutional standing analysis, not prudential standing. Therefore, the district court erred by concluding that plaintiff lacked prudential standing to bring his claims.

The judgment was reversed and die case was remanded.

No. 18-1342. United States v. Rubbo. 1/27/2020.

D.Colo. Judge Carson. Fraud Breach of Plea Agreement— Waiver of Appellate Review in Plea Agreement—Downward Departure from U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Defendant participated in a fraudulent business scheme involving die sale of a cleaning product. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and engaging in a monetary transaction involving proceeds of criminal activity. As...

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