White Jankowski Lawyers

Changes to Colorado Water Court Rule 11

December 15, 2017

The Colorado Supreme Court recently announced a change to Rule 11 (Pre-Trial Procedure, Case Management, Disclosure, and Simplification of Issues) of the Uniform Local Rules for All State Water Court Divisions.  The rule change was adopted by the Court on November 16, 2017 and will be effective for cases filed or re-referred on or after January 1, 2018.

The rule change alters the water court timelines established in Rule 11 regarding expert disclosures, settlement discussions, and pretrial motions.  Generally, the rule change requires the disclosure of expert evidence and filing of Rule 56 motions farther in advance of trial than was previously required.

First, the applicant’s expert disclosure shall now be made at least 280 days (previously 245 days) before trial; the applicant’s supplemental expert disclosure shall be made at least 217 days (previously 182 days) before trial; and an opposer’s expert disclosure shall be made at least 161 days (previously 126 days) before trial.  Rule 11(b)(5)(B)(I-III).  If an expert disclosure is intended to contradict or rebut evidence on the same subject identified by another party under subsection (b)(5)(B)(III) of the Rule, that disclosure shall now be made no later than 119 days (previously 91 days) before trial.  Id. at (b)(5)(B)(IV).

Additionally, parties shall jointly file a statement setting forth the specific disputed issues that will be the subject of expert testimony at trial no later than 84 days (previously 63 days) before trial.  Id. at (b)(6)(B).

Finally, unless otherwise ordered by the court, motions pursuant to C.R.C.P. 56 (Summary Judgment and Rulings on Questions of Law) shall be filed at least 91 days (previously 84 days) before trial.  Id. at (b)(9).

Colorado water lawyers will likely favorably embrace this rule change, as the new deadlines provide four weeks to review expert rebuttal disclosures prior to the deadline to file any Rule 56 motion, rather than the one week that was provided by the old rule.  The other changes similarly provide all parties with additional time to prepare for trial.

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