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SB 13-023: Increase Damages Caps Under CGIA

SB 13-023: Increase Damages Caps Under CGIA

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Increase Damages Caps Under CGIA
Increase Damages Caps Under CGIA

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Published by: Senator Mike Johnston on Mar 05, 2013
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08/06/2013

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Office of Sen. Mike Johnston
Colorado General Assembly | 200 E. Colfax Avenue | Denver, CO 80203 |303.866.4864
F
ACT
S
HEET
M
EMORANDUM
SB 13-023
Increase Damages Caps under CGIASen. Cadman & Sen. Morse
Staff Name
: Colinford Mattis
What the Bill Does
:Currently, the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act” sets the following limits onthe amount of money that can “be recovered by a person(s) suing a public entity orpublic employee for loss or injury caused by the entity or employee in any singleoccurrence:”
$150,000 for any injury to one person.
$600,000 for any injury to two or more persons, but not to exceed $150,000to any one person.In light of the effects of inflation since 1992, the last time the aforementioned limitswere set, the proposed bill will increase the limits to the following amounts:
$478,000 for any injury to one person.
$990,000 for any injury to two or more persons, but not to exceed $478,000to any one person.Furthermore, the proposed limits are exclusive of interest that may be awarded.Lastly, the attorney general will adjust the limits for inflation every four yearsstarting January 1, 2018. The adjusted amount will be published on the attorneygeneral’s web site.
Colorado Context
:Currently, the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act” (CGIA) allows local and stategovernments in Colorado to defend themselves against negligence and other tortclaims related to general liability, automobile liability, and medical liability. TheState Claims Board—a body made up of the state treasurer, the state attorneygeneral, and the executive director of the Department of Personnel andAdministration—settle claims against the state, from the Risk Management Fund, upto the payment amount limits set by CGIA. The amounts limits detailed in CGIA werelast adjusted in 1979 and 1992.
1
 
National Context
: The “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act” (Act) governs state sovereignimmunity, legislative authority over immunity issues, and tort claims against thestate. All 50 states have such a law in place.
2
The act serves as statute to prohibit
1
SB13-023 Colorado Legislative Council Staff Fiscal Note. pp. 1-2
2
Rall, Jaime, “Weather or Not? State Liability and Road Weather Information Systems(RWIS)” (April 2010). National Conference of State Legislatures. pp 57.
 
DRAFT 3/5/2013 21:19 a3/p3For a complete list of fact sheets, visitwww.mikejohnston.org/in-the-legislature.
 
punitive damages against the State and provides limitations on recoverabledamages.
3
Twenty-nine states in the United States, including Colorado, prohibitpunitive damages against the State in some form.
4
Thirty-three states, includingColorado, provide limitations on recoverable damages against the State in a civilsuit.
5
Bill Provisions
: The proposed bill has the following provisions, which amends Colorado RevisedStatutes 24-10-114:
 The maximum amount recoverable, whether from one or more public entitiesand employees, for any injury to one person in a single occurrence is$478,000.
 The maximum amount recoverable, whether from one or more public entitiesand employees, for any injury to two or more persons in a single occurrenceis $990,000; however, no one person can recover more than $478,000.
 The aforementioned amounts do not include interest awarded.
 The maximum amount recoverable limits will be adjusted based on “thepercent change over a four year period in the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index for Denver-Boulder-Greeley, all items, all urban consumers, or its successor index.”
On or before January 1, 2018 and every fourth January 1
st
thereafter, theattorney general will calculate and adjust the maximum amount recoverablelimits—to the nearest thousand dollar, which will be applied for the next fouryears.
 The attorney general will publish the adjusted maximum amount recoverablelimits on the attorney general’s web site.
 This act is effect July 1, 2013 and applies to civil actions filed on or after July1, 2013.
Fiscal Impact
: The Colorado Legislative Council estimates there will be a fiscal impact that wouldincrease state expenditures; the amount of increase has not been estimated for thefollowing reasons:
An increase in the recoverable amount limit may lead to more claims, morelitigation, and higher awards.
 The number of settlements, and the amount paid for each, are expected toincrease under the bill.
 The bill permits interest to be awarded on top of any per person or totaloccurrence damages award.
 The potential amount of increase of payments to the Risk Management Fundin DPA has not been estimated.
 The future number of claims settled or awarded at the cap amounts cannotbe estimated.
State agencies insured outside the state's self-funded pool could see anincrease in premiums as insurers mitigate risk under the new caps.
3
Ibid.
4
Ibid. pp 57-63
5
Ibid.
DRAFT 3/5/2013 21:19 a3/p3For a complete list of fact sheets, visitwww.mikejohnston.org/in-the-legislature.

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