Boulder County District Court No. 16CV30186 Honorable Norma
A. Sierra, Judge
& Associates, P.C., Ronald D. Jung, Boulder, Colorado;
Weston M. Cole Law Office, LLC, Weston M. Cole, Littleton,
Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellant
Gibson & Moore LLP, Marcel Krzystek, Jay S. Jester,
Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellee
1 Does the Colorado Wage Claim Act, sections 8-4-101 to -123,
C.R.S. 2017, bar claimants from piercing the corporate veil
to hold an individual personally liable for unpaid wages? We
answer that question "no."
2 We ask and answer that question in the case of plaintiff,
Robert Paradine, who appeals the trial court's order that
granted a motion for judgment on the pleadings that
defendant, Esmond Goei, had filed. Because of our answer and
our resolution of a second issue, we reverse the court's
judgment and remand for further proceedings.
Background and Procedural History
3 Plaintiff served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice
President of Administration for a corporation called Aspect
Technologies, Inc. Defendant was the Chief Executive Officer.
4 Plaintiff sued defendant and Aspect, raising three claims:
a claim under the Wage Claim Act, fraud, and breach of
contract. He alleged that defendant and Aspect owed him about
$8100 in unpaid wages.
5 Defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings
under C.R.C.P. 12(c). The trial court granted the motion and
dismissed the three claims against defendant with prejudice.
(The claims against Aspect are still alive.) After denying
plaintiff's motion to reconsider, the court certified its
order dismissing the claims against defendant as a final
judgment under C.R.C.P. 54(b).
Standard of Review and C.R.C.P. 12(c)
6 We review C.R.C.P. 12(c) judgments on the pleadings de
novo. Fischer v. City of Colorado Springs, 260 P.3d
331, 334 (Colo.App. 2010). Courts generally disapprove of
such judgments. Colo. Criminal Justice Reform Coal. v.
Ortiz, 121 P.3d 288, 294 (Colo.App. 2005). Historically,
this meant that we would affirm a judgment on the pleadings
"only if it appear[ed] beyond doubt that the party
asserting a claim [could] prove no set of facts in support of
the claim that would entitle the party to relief."
Id. "This standard [was] essentially consistent
with that employed in resolving a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim" under C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5).
7 Our supreme court changed the C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5) standard in
2016. Warne v. Hall, 2016 CO 50. Now, "only a
complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a
motion to dismiss." Id. at ¶ 9 (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)).
"Under this standard, a party must plead sufficient
facts that, if taken as true, suggest plausible grounds to
support a claim for relief." Campaign Integrity
Watchdog, LLC v. All. for a Safe and Indep. Woodmen
Hills, 2017 COA 22, ¶ 28 (cert. granted
Oct. 30, 2017). And "the tenet that a court must accept
as true ...