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Inc. v. City of Boulder

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Fourth Division

August 22, 2019

The Pro's Closet, Inc., a Delaware corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
City of Boulder, Colorado, and Michael Dougherty, in his official capacity as the District Attorney for the 20th Judicial District of Colorado, Defendants-Appellees.

          Boulder County District Court No. 17CV30652 Honorable Patrick Butler, Judge.

          LaszloLaw, Theodore E. Laszlo, Jr., Michael J. Laszlo, Boulder, Colorado; Sean Connelly, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellant

          Thomas A. Carr, City Attorney, Luis Toro, Senior Assistant City Attorney, Boulder, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellee City of Boulder

          Ben Perlman, County Attorney, David Hughes, Deputy County Attorney, Catherine R. Ruhland, Assistant County Attorney, Boulder, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellee Michael Dougherty

          OPINION

          J. JONES JUDGE.

         ¶ 1 Plaintiff, The Pro's Closet, Inc., appeals the district court's summary judgment in favor of defendant, the City of Boulder. The court ruled that Pro's Closet is a "pawnbroker" as defined in section 29-11.9-101, C.R.S. 2018, and is therefore subject to the requirements, restrictions, and potential sanctions of the state pawnbroker laws, sections 29-11.9-101 to -104, C.R.S. 2018. Because we conclude that the district court didn't err in interpreting the pawnbroker statutes, we affirm the judgment.

         I. Background

         ¶ 2 Pro's Closet is licensed in Boulder as a secondhand dealer under the Boulder Revised Code. It sells used bicycles, bicycle parts, and bicycle gear. Though it has a warehouse in Boulder, Pro's Closet does most of its business online.

         ¶ 3 In 2016, the Twentieth Judicial District's District Attorney's Office told the Boulder Police Department to treat Pro's Closet as a "pawnbroker" under state law, meaning, among other things, that Pro's Closet must hold used goods it buys for thirty days before reselling them instead of ninety-six hours as required by the Boulder Revised Code's secondhand dealer ordinances. See § 29-11.9-103(6), C.R.S. 2018; Boulder Rev. Code 4-17-10. Pro's Closet filed suit, seeking a declaratory judgment that it isn't subject to state pawnbroker laws.

         ¶ 4 Both Pro's Closet and the City moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the City's motion, concluding that, since Pro's Closet regularly makes "purchase transaction[s]" as defined by section 29-11.9-101(8), it is a pawnbroker under state law.

         II. Discussion

         ¶ 5 Pro's Closet argues on appeal that (1) the district court erred in ruling that it is a pawnbroker under section 29-11.9-101; and (2) because Colorado's and the City's secondhand dealer laws are more specific to its business, it isn't subject to state pawnbroker laws.[1]We reject both arguments.

         A. Pro's Closet is a Pawnbroker Under State Law

         ¶ 6 Pro's Closet argues first that the district court incorrectly interpreted section 29-11.9-101 in concluding that it is a "pawnbroker."

         1. Standard of Review and Interpretive Principles

         ¶ 7 We review issues of statutory interpretation de novo. Colo. Oil & Gas Conservation Comm'n v. Martinez, 2019 CO 3, ¶ 19.

         ¶ 8 In construing a statute, we look to the entire statutory scheme to give consistent, harmonious, and sensible effect to all of its parts, and we apply words and phrases in accordance with their plain and ordinary meanings. Id.; Denver Post Corp. v. Ritter, 255 P.3d 1083, 1088-89 (Colo. 2011). When the statutory language is clear, we apply it as written, without resorting ...


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