New $25,000.00 Colorado County Court Jurisdiction Limit
The Colorado state legislature enacted Senate Bill 18-056, which is new legislation increasing the monetary cap on damages claimed in county court cases from $15,000 to $25,000. This change will be effective for cases filed on or after January 1, 2019. The legislation also changes the court’s filing fees, which are now based on levels established by the amount of damages being claimed. For example, a claim less than $1,000 is subject to a filing fee of $85; a claim of $1,000 or more but less than $15,000 is subject to a filing fee of $105; and a claim of $15,000 or more but less than $25,000 is subject to a filing fee of $135. These examples are for claims brought by a plaintiff. The legislation also changes the filing fees in responding to claims and asserting counterclaims, cross-claims, or third-party claims.
The increase in monetary value of damages for county court cases will likely allow more claimants to access the judicial system while avoiding the expensive and formal rules associated with cases brought in district court. The $25,000 threshold means that individuals who are seeking to recover damages of $25,000 or less can file in county court. This amount is exclusive of costs and attorney fees. If a claim for breach of contract is alleged and the contract includes an attorney fees provision, the attorney fees are not calculated in the total amount of the claim for jurisdictional purposes. The new $25,000 threshold also applies to lien foreclosure and forcible entry, forcible detainer, or unlawful detainer cases where the monthly rental value of the property does not exceed $25,000.
One major advantage of filing a case in county court versus district court is that cases are more likely to reach trial or resolution quicker than in district court. Further, pretrial procedure is less onerous in county court. For example, discovery such as written discovery, depositions, and expert disclosures, can be a costly phase of the case. See Johnson Law’s prior blog post “What is Litigation?” posted March 26, 2018 for a more detailed discussion on discovery and the phases of a case. Unlike in district court where a party is entitled to presumptive limits on discovery, in county court a party must request the court order discovery.
This legislation improves access to the judicial system and helps many parties seeking to recover damages without incurring costly legal fees associated with district court. If you have a legal question, please contact your qualified and specialized Colorado Construction Defect Lawyers at Johnson Law today to discuss your case.