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Rooftop Restoration, Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co.

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

May 29, 2018

Rooftop Restoration, Inc., a Colorado corporation, Plaintiff
v.
American Family Mutual Insurance Company, a Wisconsin corporation. Defendant

          Certification of Question of Law United States District Court for the District of Colorado Case No. 15CV2560-WJM-MJW

          Attorneys for Plaintiff: Levin Sitcoff PC Bradley A. Levin Nelson A. Waneka Denver, Colorado Furtado Law PC David J. Furtado Rodney J. Monheit Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Defendant: Campbell, Latiolais & Averbach, LLC Colin C. Campbell Kirstin M. Dvorchak Greenwood Village, Colorado

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Defense Lawyers Association: Gordon & Rees LLP John R. Mann Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Trial Lawyers Association: Keating Wagner Polidori Free, P.C. Zachary C. Warzel Melissa A. Hailey Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae United Policyholders: The Fowler Law Firm, LLC Timms R. Fowler Fort Collins, Colorado

          Taussig, Taussig & Smith, P.C. Scott D. Smith Denver, Colorado

          OPINION

          RICE CHIEF JUSTICE

          ¶1 The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado certified a question to us regarding the statute of limitations applicable to section 10-3-1116, C.R.S. (2017), which governs claims for unreasonable delay or denial of insurance benefits. Specifically, we accepted jurisdiction under C.A.R. 21.1 to answer the following question from the district court:

Is a claim brought pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes § 10-3-1116 subject to the one-year statute of limitations found in Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-80-103(1)(d) and applicable to "[a]ll actions for any penalty or forfeiture of any penal statutes"?

         We hold that the one-year statute of limitations found in section 13-80-103(1)(d), C.R.S. (2017), does not apply to an action brought under section 10-3-1116(1) because section 10-3-1116(1) is not an "action[] for any penalty or forfeiture of any penal statute[]" within the meaning of section 13-80-103(1)(d). Therefore, we answer the certified question in the negative.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         ¶2 Denish and Betty Jo Chastain held an insurance policy issued by the defendant, American Family Mutual Insurance Company ("American Family"). On August 30, 2013, the Chastains submitted a claim to American Family for hail damage to their roof. American Family inspected the Chastains' home and on September 3, 2013, estimated that the cost to repair the hail damage was less than the policy's $1000 deductible. The Chastains disagreed with American Family's estimate and subsequently assigned their claim against American Family to their contractor, the plaintiff in this case, Rooftop Restoration, Inc. ("Rooftop").

          ¶3 On May 13, 2014, Rooftop sent American Family an estimate which indicated that the cost to repair the hail damage was approximately $70, 000. On May 28, 2014, American Family re-inspected the Chastains' home and increased its estimate of the covered damage to approximately $4000. American Family sent the ...


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