Court Opinions: Colorado Court of Appeals Opinions for Sept. 2

Editor’s Note: Law Week Colorado edits court opinion summaries for style and, when necessary, length.

People v. Pellegrin

In July 2017, Trevor Pellegrin harassed his ex-fiance online and over the phone. On top of a series of texts, Pellegrin posted nude photos taken during their relationship to his ex’s personal Facebook and to multiple Craigslist ads that included the victim’s address and phone number. A jury convicted Pellegrin of stalking and posting a private image for harassment to Craigslist. But the jury acquitted him of one charge — posting a private image for harassment to Facebook.

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Among other contentions, Pellegrin asked the Colorado Court of Appeals if the state’s revenge porn statute that defines “private intimate parts [of the body]” including “the breast of a female,” means an image must contain a woman’s entire breast. The images posted depicted only part of the victim’s breast. He asserted that if it does not specify the entire breast, the statute is unconstitutionally overbroad or vague. Pellegrin also asked the court if harassment should be considered a lesser included offense of stalking. 

The court ruled that “breast of a female” is open to multiple reasonable interpretations. It looked at the general assembly’s intent, previous court cases and the statute’s legislative history to rule that ‘“breast of a female’ includes any display of an identifiable female’s exposed breast.” Since the statute requires that intent, lack of consent, emotional distress of the victim and identifiable photos be proved, the court ruled its definition of breast is not unconstitutionally overbroad or vague.

Using the single distinction test required by section 18-1-408(5)(c) of the 2020 Colorado Revised Statutes, the court ruled that harassment is not a lesser included offense of stalking.

CadleRock v. Esperanza Architecture

In 2005, Curtis Odom, Angela McDermott and Esperanza Architecture & Consulting Inc. took out $500,000 of “revolving line of credit” from WestStar Bank. The agreement was amended a year later to modify the repayment terms and increase the credit amount to $750,000. McDermott, Odom and Esperanza Architecture defaulted on the loan in January 2012. U.S. National Bank Association later acquired WestStar and the line of credit. The debt was then assigned to Acquired Capital and then CadleRock Joint Venture LP.

CadleRock sued McDermott, Odom and Esperanza Architecture for the $750,000 plus interest and legal fees, totaling $870,361. The specific claims brought against the borrowers included debt due, breach of contract, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, and promissory estoppel. The borrowers moved for summary judgement. They argued their defaulted line of credit was a negotiable instrument under Article 3 of the Colorado Uniform Commercial Code and that CadleRock couldn’t enforce it. They added that CadleRock failed to establish a chain of ownership to show it bought the debt. 

A trial court granted the motion for summary judgement in part and dismissed almost all of CadleRock’s claims against the borrowers. CadleRock appealed the summary judgement, arguing, among other points, that the lower court erred by considering the line of credit a negotiable instrument. 

The Colorado Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s decisions based on its classification of a negotiable instrument. The appeals court ruled that a line of credit is not a negotiable instrument since it does not pass the “fixed amount of money” requirement. The court reversed the overturned claims against the borrowers.

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