News from Dymond • Reagor
Recent Events: DRC's Reagor guest on the Retirement Readiness Show
On October 10, 2015, on Denver's 950 am, DRC's Michael Reagor is the guest of host Geoff Eliason on his show the Retirement Readiness Show (click here to listen to the recorded show), for a half-our discussion of issues related to estate planning. A focus of the discussion is current issues affecting ordinary citizen.
Recent Events: DRC prevails in lawsuit against land-grabbing Colorado county
In late December 2013, after several years of litigation, DRC's attorneys on behalf of a landowner client prevailed in a lawsuit brought against that client by the Board of County Commissioners of Moffat County, Colorado. Moffat County claimed that a public road had been dedicated by the BOCC in 1924, and the trial court initially agreed, despite the fact that proper notice of the alleged dedication had never been given to the client or its predecessor. That order was appealed to the Colorado court of appeals, which reversed the trial court's finding. A year later, the trial court rejected the BOCC's second claim alleging that a public highway existed on the property on the basis of 20 years of public prescriptive use and entered judgment in favor of DRC's client. DRC's representation and the significant victory over the land-grabbing county commissioners protect the rights of DRC's client and the reasonable expectations of all Moffat County landowners from unreasonable and unlawful government action aimed at taking private property without paying compensation and other consequences. DRC's client's request for an award of attorney fees for a violation of its civil rights is pending.
Recent Events: DRC Hosts Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler at Prayer Breakfast at WealthCounsel Planning for the Generations Symposium
During the August 2013 WealthCounsel national symposium, Planning for the Generations, DRC hosted a prayer breakfast and Colorado Secretary of State. Secretary Gessler shared on the importance of faith and prayer in the daily life of lawyers. The prayer breakfast also saw members of WealthCounsel interested in a Faith Based Practice Group collaborate toward organization of this practice group.
Recent Events: DRC Hosts Christian Legal Society President, Dave Nammo and WealthCounsel Seminar on Gun Trusts
- In late June 2013, DRC proudly hosted the President of the National Christian Legal Society for a Denver CLS-Member breakfast meeting. President Nammo spoke on updates to many religious freedom cases in which the National Christian Legal Society is involved. He also spoke on the increasing importance of the community of Christian lawyers.
- In May 2013, DRC hosted a two-day, WealthCounsel CLE course for GunDocx, the newest practice system from the WealthCounsel family. The GunDocx Trust and Legacy Planning System offers a comprehensive approach to firearms planning and enables attorneys to prepare trusts specifically for the use, possession, and transfer of firearms. A "gun trust" is a purpose-built revocable living trust designed to help clients and their loved ones to comply with the unique and complex state and federal regulations governing the ownership and transfer of firearms.
Recent Transactions: Business is booming for DRC clients
Despite exciting and uncertain times, DRC has been able to assist clients acquire, merge, and sell their companies recently:
- In November, 2012, DRC's Michael Reagor represented Golden, Colorado's EDS Waste Solutions, Inc. in the sale of their business to Waste Management, Inc. EDS Waste Solutions, a 100 year-old family business, continues to operate its transfer station facilities. DRC was proud to help the owners of the company in all the complexities and details of the transaction, from the beginning of the transaction to the closing of the deal.
- DRC represented a national construction materials-based company acquire and sell several Colorado-based commercial businesses.
- DRC assisted several Western Slope-based businesses sell and acquire existing retail businesses specializing in sales of construction materials. As our clients focused on the practical aspects of the purchases, DRC assisted and executed the acquisition strategy as well as assisted in our clients' overall planning strategies.
- DRC recently assisted a Denver based company specializing in bill review services for workers' compensation billings sell their assets to a national company specializing in bill review services. DRC counseled the client on the entire transaction, from the initial stages, through a nondisclosure agreement, a letter of intent, and finally through the asset purchase. Additionally, DRC assisted the owners of the company negotiate and work together to close the deal.
- DRC recently assisted a local medical group expand its urgent care practice group through the purchase of another urgent care clinic. The purchase was part of the client's expansion strategy aimed at taking the company nationally in the near future. The deal involved special issues relating to transfers of medical practice, medical practice accounting issues, and non-competition agreements between physicians.
DRC joins in support of National Christian Legal Society Convention in Colorado Springs
This late October, the Christian Legal Society held its annual national convention and meeting in Colorado Springs. Hundreds of CLS members from around the nation gathered to enjoy seminars on various topics of interest, from sharia law to First Amendment issues to practical legal practice courses. DRC's Michael Reagor participated with a group of estate planners in various conferences which provided up to date estate, tax and charitable planning information to Christian planners. DRC joined with other Denver law firms to support and fund various meetings and gatherings at the annual event. The event was a great success and allowed DRC's planners to collaborate and work with like minded practitioners from around the nation.
DRC's Michael Reagor Interviewed in Wall Street Journal
DRC partner Michael Reagor was interviewed in an April 30, 2012 Wall Street Journal article discussing faith based estate planning. Mr. Reagor explained some of the techniques used by faith based clients who wish to promote family values as part of the estate planning process. In his practice, Mr. Reagor focuses on assisting families provide both for property inheritance and an inheritance of values. Today, in light of rapidly changing cultural norms, many families are embracing "values based planning" or "legacy planning" as a means to effectively transmit both property and values to their children and grandchildren. When approached carefully, a plan can accomplish these goals and so much more. Mr. Reagor asks clients to see their ability to both create and promote dreams and aspirations of both children and grandchildren.
Partner Helps with Christian Youth Festival
DRC partner Michael Reagor has partnered with Denver area businesses and ministries to form "Denver Festival with Franklin Graham." "DFFG" is the local nonprofit which has partnered with Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to bring "Rock the Range" to Denver. Rock the Range was held August 27 and 28, 2011, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
Recent Developments in Colorado Estate Planning Law
Colorado Case on Mediation and Court Approval of Settlement over Objection of One Beneficiary
Contributed by the ACTEC State Laws Committee.
Some of the beneficiaries of a trust brought suit for removal of a trustee, accounting, surcharge, and damages for breach of fiduciary duty. During mediation, one of the beneficiaries participated “only intermittently by telephone,” but the parties present at the mediation thought that an agreement had been reached. Although it was discovered several days later that the beneficiary who had not fully participated did not agree to the settlement terms, the trustee moved the court to approve the settlement, and it did so. The dissenting beneficiary appealed, and in Saunders v. Muratori the Colorado Court of Appeals, analogizing a suit by a trust beneficiary for the benefit of the trust to a shareholder’s derivative suit on behalf of a corporation, held that the trial court could properly approve the settlement even over the objection of one of the beneficiaries, if the settlement was just and reasonable. The appellate court affirmed the trial court, determining that the record supported the trial court’s conclusion that the settlement was fair and reasonable.
Colorado Case on Arbitration Clause in Engagement of Attorney for Estate Planning
Contributed by the ACTEC State Laws Committee.
A client hired a lawyer and they signed an agreement that provided for all disputes to be settled, at the sole option of the lawyer, by arbitration. After the lawyer performed work for the client, the client died, and his estate sued the lawyer for malpractice, civil conspiracy, and tortious interference with inheritance. The estate alleged that the client had lacked sufficient mental capacity to comprehend the lawyer’s advice and the documents that the lawyer drafted. When the lawyer moved to compel arbitration, the estate asserted that the court should deny the motion because the arbitration provision was unconscionable and because the client did not have sufficient capacity to enter into the contract. The trial court ordered arbitration and the estate appealed. In Grimm v. Evans, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the trial court was required to determine both the unconscionability and capacity issues, because they were threshold issues as to whether an agreement to arbitrate existed, the appellate court remanded for a hearing on those issues.
DRC Continues Leadership in ESI Litigation
DRC Obtained an Adverse Inference in Litigation regarding Discovery Dispute Concerning Electronically Stored Information
DRC demonstrated its expertise, and continued its leadership, in the area of electronically stored information (ESI) recently with the succesful procurement of a favorable Order in Colorado District Court. Specifically, DRC partner Michael Reagor engaged in significant and complex discovery litigation in the matter of Smith v. Slifer Smith & Frampton/Vail Associates, et al., No. 06-cv-02206-JLK-MJW, D.C.Colo. In that matter, the parties disputed disclosure and discovery issues related to documents maintained on a defendants computer. Employing the firm's expertise in the area, Mr. Reagor was able to obtain discovery of the computer, and when it was found that the ESI was missing, or had been altered, succeeded in obtaining an adverse inference from the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The Order is available for download. The file can also be viewed online through Google Docs.