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Amicus Guidelines

 

GUIDELINES OF THE CTLA AMICUS COMMITTEE FOR AMICUS PARTICIPATION
Contact CTLA's director of legislative services or the amicus committee chairs by sending an email.

 

I.    Mission and Purpose

      The mission of the CTLA Amicus Committee is to represent the interests of the full Association on important issues of statewide and national interest as they may be presented in the appellate courts of Colorado or the United States.  Rule 29 of the Colorado Rules of Appellate Procedure and Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and Rule 29.1 of the Tenth Circuit Rules govern the ability of the committee to participate in a case.

      The committee considers applications for amicus participation in light of the Mission of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, as contained in Article III of the Restated Articles of Incorporation.  The committee will consider amicus participation in cases that present the legal issues appropriately.  The legal issues should further the rule of law, access to the justice system, preservation of the constitutional right to trial by jury or otherwise promote the common good of the people of Colorado. 

II.   Composition of the CTLA Amicus Committee

      The amicus committee is a standing committee of the board of directors and is composed of CTLA members in good standing who have volunteered to serve on the committee and who commit to engage in a timely, deliberate review and debate on the requests that come before the committee.  The president of CTLA appoints the chair or co-chairs of the committee after the president assumes office following the annual meeting.  The chair or co-chairs of the committee serve at the discretion and pleasure of the president and shall report to the board of directors and the members the activity of the committee.

      CTLA's director of legislative services staffs the committee.  Contact CTLA's director of legislative services or the committee chairs by sending an email.

      Majority vote of the committee members participating in the review of the case presented shall determine decisions of the committee.

III.  Standards for Consideration of a Request for CTLA Amicus Participation

      In reviewing a request for amicus participation, the committee shall consider the following criteria:

1.       Whether the case is at an appellate stage of proceedings or level of review that will permit meaningful amicus involvement.  The committee will not participate in trial court proceedings absent exceptional circumstances.  Upon request, the committee members may be available to provide mentoring to the CTLA trial court lawyer to assist the member in framing issues or assisting with other strategies of preserving an issue for appellate review.

2.       Whether the legal issue involved is of substantial interest to the members or clients of members of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association.

3.       Whether the legal issue presents a novel or previously unresolved question, the disposition of which is likely to have broad-range impact beyond the facts of the particular case.

4.       Whether the legal issue affects fundamental rights of individuals of a constitutional dimension.

5.       The committee will consider participation as amicus on a petition for certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court based on the same criteria as in other appellate cases, but additionally will assess whether the case presented is in a posture (factually and/or legally) to adequately address the issue sought for amicus participation.  If the committee does not agree to participate at this level, the committee will invite the requestor to submit a new request if the court grants certiorari.

6.       Whether, upon reviewing the briefs of the parties before the court, or briefs of other amicus curiae, additional amicus briefing would be of benefit to the court.

7.       Whether the issues requested for amicus review have been adequately framed and appropriately presented in the case.

8.       Whether there exists sufficient time to request amicus status and properly prepare a brief.

9.       Whether the requester has arranged for a brief writer, or whether the committee can find a brief writer for the amicus.

10.   Whether the Colorado Supreme Court has invited CTLA to participate.

11.   In considering a request for amicus participation, the committee shall not take into consideration whether or not the applicant for amicus is a member of CTLA or whether the applicant has made a financial contribution to CTLA.

12.   If one party to the appeal is a CTLA members (or if both are), the committee may factor that into its decision. 

IV.  Procedure for Requesting Amicus Participation from the Amicus Committee

1.       The requestor should provide the following material to CTLA's director of legislative services by email.  CTLA's director of legislative services will then electronically forward the material to all committee members for review and comment:

a.      The initial request should be in a letter, sent by email, to prominently include all relevant deadlines and due dates, as well as the identification of a proposed, appropriate and willing brief writer and a short and concise description setting forth the specific legal issue or issues which the requestor believes should be address and a brief statement explaining why CTLA would have interest in the issues, with specific reference to the criteria set forth in these Guidelines.

b.      The requestor should supply by email attachment all other relevant and supporting materials for committee review (e.g. court orders, briefs, lower court opinion, etc.).

c.      The requestor may submit written letters of CTLA members in support of the request, by email attachment (or directly from the supporter by email to CTLA's director of legislative services), setting forth substantive reasons for CTLA’s involvement in the case.

2.     It is the policy of CTLA that its amicus committee remains an independent body.  Its members will not individually consult with those who request amicus intervention regarding what the committee’s substantive position ought to be on any amicus request or brief filed on behalf of CTLA.  The committee will independently assess what issues are of importance to it without additional input from the requestor or other CTLA members.

3.    The requestor shall furnish any additional materials or information as requested by the committee.

4.    In order that committee review and discussion of a request may be open and efficient, the record of the email debate on the merits of a request shall not be retained in any form by CTLA nor disclosed by the committee members to any one outside of the committee – unless, as provided below, the record will be shared with CTLA’s executive committee and/or board of directors. 

V.   Committee Procedures

1.       Upon receipt of the requesting materials, CTLA's director of legislative services shall electronically forward all such materials within 24 hours to the committee members, noting in the cover message the deadlines for decision and briefing.

2.       By agreeing to be a member of the committee, all committee members agree to review the materials sent to him or her promptly and to participate in the email discussion of the merits of the request according to these guidelines.  If a committee member is unable to participate in a discussion, he or she will notify the chairs or co-chairs.

3.       When all committee members have participated in the review and the vote on the request, CTLA's director of legislative services shall send a summary email to all committee members summarizing the vote and the decision that the committee has reached.  Any committee member who disagrees with CTLA's director of legislative services’ summary of the decision must promptly notify CTLA's director of legislative services and all committee members.

4.       If the committee decides the case does not merit participation, CTLA's director of legislative services will promptly notify the requestor by email and answer any questions that do not breach the private debate of the committee.

5.       If the committee decides the case merits participation, CTLA's director of legislative services shall circulate the request, accompanying material and anonymous comments from the amicus committee members’ discussion to the executive committee for approval (or the board of directors if such action would be timely).  Executive Committee review is necessary because the Amicus Committee purports to speak on behalf of the members of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association even though it is unelected and not necessarily representative of the membership.

6.       The amicus committee’s recommendation shall be deemed approved unless, within the appointed time, a majority of the then sitting EC votes against the amicus committee’s recommendation.  Should the discussion of the executive committee occur at a meeting, rather than by email, or should the decision go before the board, the executive committee or board will follow its usual quorum rules and rules for taking action.

7.       CTLA's director of legislative services will promptly notify the amicus committee of the executive committee’s and/or board’s decision.

8.       CTLA's director of legislative services will promptly notify the requestor and the agreed brief writer by email of the decision of the committee and answer any questions that do not breach the private debate of the committee.

9.       If the requestor has not identified a brief writer for the amicus, CTLA's director of legislative services may solicit volunteer brief writers from the committee or from the CTLA membership at large.

10.   The writer of the CTLA amicus brief will provide an electronic copy of the brief to CTLA's director of legislative services immediately after filing it.

11.   CTLA is unable to compensate attorneys who write CTLA amicus briefs for time or expenses incurred.

12.   CTLA will recognize all brief writers at the annual CTLA convention, and/or the annual spring dinner.  CTLA will post the briefs on its website.

13.   The chair or co-chairs of the committee shall regularly report the committee’s activities to the board of directors and to the membership through Trial Talk® or other forums.

Contact CTLA's director of legislative services or the committee chairs by sending an email.