Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC is pleased to announce that attorney Jennifer Lynn Peters has been certified as a member of Lawyers of Distinction.

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC is pleased to announce that attorney Jennifer Lynn Peters has been certified as a member of Lawyers of Distinction.

The Lawyers of Distinction is recognized as the fastest growing community of distinguished lawyers in the United States.   Membership is limited to the top 10% of attorneys in the United States. Members are accepted based upon objective evaluation of an attorney’s qualifications, license, reputation, experience, and disciplinary history.

Widely known for organizing the 19th Judicial District Bench-Bar Committee’s Annual Nuts & Bolts CLE, now in its 14th year, Jennifer routinely gives presentations on real estate law, business law, and ethics. She also volunteers as a mediator for the Weld County courts, and was the recipient of the Weld County Bar Association’s Andrew Borg Award recognizing pro bono service in 2009. Ms. Peters was named a Rising Star by Colorado Super Lawyers Magazine in both 2011 and 2012, and is a member of the board of directors of CREW Northern Colorado and the Weld Food Bank. Jennifer was inducted into the 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame by the Northern Colorado Business Report. She was awarded a certificate of completion of the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Leadership Program.

“It is a tremendous honor and I am humbled to be selected for this certification.   It is great to work with a talented and supportive team of lawyers and staff at our firm that make it possible for me to support our Northern Colorado community and provide such a high level of legal services to our clients,” said Jennifer Lynn Peters.

Lawyers of Distinction does not offer membership to more than 10% of attorneys in any given state. Lawyers of Distinction uses it own independent criteria, including both objective and subjective factors in determining if an attorney can be recognized as being within the top 10% of attorneys in the United States in their respective field. This designation is based upon the proprietary analysis of the Lawyers of Distinction organization alone, and is not intended to be endorsed by any of the 50 United States Bar Associations or The District of Columbia Bar Association. Please see the website www.lawyersofdistinction.com for further details concerning membership qualification.

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Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC provides real estate law and business law services throughout Northern Colorado. OBP has 16 attorneys spread across its two offices in Greeley and Loveland. For more information, contact Jennifer Lynn Peters at jpeters@nocoattorneys.com or 970-330-6700 or visit www.nocoattorneys.com.

Some things just don’t age well…

By: Brandy Natalzia – Published in the BizWest Thought Leaders column in September 2017

Unlike a fine wine, leases can leave a bad taste in your mouth if simply left on a shelf. Whether you are a commercial or residential landlord, if you haven’t read your lease recently, you can bet there are outdated terms or potentially inaccurate or incomplete provisions.

Many things have changed that have had quite the effect on leases – including the legalization of marijuana, reasonable accommodations, and the rights of tenants who are victims of unlawful sexual behavior and stalking.

One of the more recent changes took effect on August 9, 2017. Previously, both commercial and residential landlords could provide tenants under a short-term lease just seven days’ notice of lease termination, among the shortest notification windows in the country. C.R.S. § 13-40-107 extends that advanced notification requirement to 21 days.

If you think your lease may need to be dusted off, it might be a good time to reach out to an attorney for assistance.

Buying a Business? Make Sure Your Written Agreement Protects You from Future Competition!

By: Tim Odil – Published in the BizWest Thought Leaders column in August 2017

When disputes arise over the purchase of a business, it is often because the agreement did not adequately define what is being acquired by the buyer, what obligations remain with the seller, what representations are part of the basic understanding of the transaction, and what business information is confidential or trade secret.  Often, such agreements also fail to address the risk of departing employees.

Business strategies, customers, status of work, current and projected needs for future work, information about key employees and whether they will remain engaged after the sale is valuable, competition-sensitive information instrumental to the success of the business, and items that that any buyer should consider, define, and protect in the purchase agreement to help avoid future disputes.  Ask every question you can think of as part of the due diligence process.  Understanding what you are buying is crucial to successfully transitioning the company after sale.

OBP has been named one of the fastest- growing companies in Northern Colorado!

OBP has been named one of the fastest- growing companies in Northern Colorado!

What are the fastest-growing private companies in Northern Colorado?

The Mercury 100 list is ranked by percentage revenue growth over a two-year period. The 100 companies are divided into five “flights” of 20, with the highest revenue earners in flight one. Those 20 companies are then ranked by their percentage revenue growth over a two-year period. The Mercury is compiled by BizWest’s research department and vetted by Anton Collins Mitchell. The top five in each flight were introduced at the event on 6/27 and OBP was in the top five in our category!

Clean Water Act Rule: Review of the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Rule Considerations for Moving Forward by: John Kolanz

John recently had an extensive article published in The Water Report (see link below).  He also spoke at CSU on June 13th on the Waters of the United States rulemaking at the 2017 Universities Council on Water Resources/National Institutes for Water Resources Annual Conference.  Way to go John!

Clean Water Act Rule: Review of the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Rule Considerations for Moving Forward by: John Kolanz

 

Kolanz, John A. “Clean Water Act Rule: Review of the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Rule Considerations for Moving Forward .” The Water Report 160 (2017): 1-31. Www.NEBC.com. Web. 15 June 2017.

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC is proud to announce the promotion of attorney Brandy E. Natalzia to Senior Associate with the firm

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC is proud to announce the promotion of attorney Brandy E. Natalzia to Senior Associate with the firm. “This promotion recognizes the outstanding contributions Brandy has made to the firm, her exemplary work, and her commitment to both the firm and her community,” says Senior Partner Fred L. Otis, Esq.

Brandy is a member of our business and transactions team. She graduated, cum laude, from Florida Coastal School of Law where she received Class Book Awards for her work on Trusts & Estates and Transactional Drafting. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications, cum laude, from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Brandy is admitted to practice in Colorado and Florida.

She is a former judicial intern for the Honorable Jay Cohen of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Marcia Morales Howard of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. While in law school, Brandy served as the Managing Editor of the Florida Coastal Law Review and was the Chief Managing Editor of the Public Interest Research Bureau, a student organization committed to providing free legal research to underserved clients.

Brandy’s practice with the firm focuses on all areas of real estate and business transactions, including entity formation and contract drafting, review and negotiations.

Utah Rodent in Middle of Ideological Tug-Of-War

By: John Kolanz

A version of this article was published in BizWest in May 2017.

Against the backdrop of the Trump Administration’s determined deregulatory efforts, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Colorado) recently affirmed substantial federal authority to regulate activity on private lands.  While the Court delivered its opinion in the context of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA” or “Act”), the case has broader implications for environmental regulation in general.

Congress passed the modern day ESA in 1973, with barely a dissenting vote.  The Act’s main goal is to conserve threatened and endangered species along with their supporting ecosystems.  The ESA quickly gained a reputation as one of the most powerful environmental laws ever enacted when it stopped a massive and nearly-completed federal water project in its tracks to save a newly-discovered diminutive fish (snail darter) that is unsuitable for rod and reel.  (Congress eventually had to pass special legislation to allow completion of that project – the Tellico Dam.)

The Act can likewise affect private actions.  Once a species is “listed,” the Act’s keystone provision prohibits the “take” of that species without a permit or other authorization.  While “take” includes killing, the prohibition encompasses a much broader range of actions, such as harassing, harming, pursuing, or capturing.  It can even include significant habitat modification or degradation.

With respect to some species, this broad prohibition can complicate routine land management activities.  Such was the case with the Utah Prairie Dog (“UPD”), a listed species that lives only in Utah, and mostly on non-federal land.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (“PETPO”) is a group of over 200 private landowners and other entities who say that regulation of the UPD has prevented them from building homes and starting small businesses.  PETPO challenged the authority of the United States government to regulate the take of UPDs on private land.

The United States Constitution delineates Congress’s powers.  Those not granted to Congress are reserved to the states or the people. The Constitution’s Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”  Congress relied on this authority to pass the ESA and other environmental laws.

PETPO argued that the Commerce Clause does not authorize Congress to regulate the take on non-federal land of a purely intrastate species that does not itself substantially affect interstate commerce.  The Circuit Court, however, declined PETPO’s invitation to evaluate the prohibited activity in isolation, and instead considered its place in the ESA as a whole.

The Court determined that Congress had a rational basis to believe that regulating the take of the UPD is essential to the Act’s broader regulatory scheme.  The Court found this broader scheme to substantially affect interstate commerce, and therefore upheld the federal government’s authority to protect the UPD.

To hold otherwise, the Court said, would leave a “gaping hole” in the ESA, since almost 70% of species listed under the Act exist solely within one state.  The Court further explained that excising a specific activity governed within a larger statutory scheme would subject Congress’s Commerce Clause authority to “death by 1000 cuts.”  This would call into question the validity of the ESA itself, as well as other environmental laws.

The result in this case was not really surprising.  Every other Federal Circuit Court that has considered the issue has upheld the federal government’s authority to protect purely intrastate species under the Act.

That is not to say that the UPD should rest comfortably in its burrow.  The stringency of the Act itself has long generated calls for legislative relief.  Today’s political climate may make such efforts more likely.

Perhaps more importantly, since the mid-1990s the United States Supreme Court has showed renewed interest in reassessing Congress’s Commerce Clause power.  Landmark opinions in 1995 and 2000 began to curb a power that some legal scholars had begun to regard as virtually limitless.

The Trump Administration’s deregulatory effort envisions a stronger state role in environmental regulation.  This effort will undoubtedly encourage further legal challenges, and one – perhaps the UPD case – will eventually find its way to the Supreme Court.  When that happens, the makeup of the Court will play a significant role in the outcome.

The Supreme Court’s conservative justices show a decided preference for stricter limits on Congress’s Commerce Clause power.  Depending on the case and the makeup of the Supreme Court at that time, the resulting decision could profoundly and forever change the structure of environmental regulation in this country.

 

John Kolanz is a partner with Otis, Bedingfield and Peters, LLC in Loveland.  He focuses on environmental and natural resource matters and can be reached at 970-663-7300 or JKolanz@nocoattorneys.com.

 

Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition

By: Christian J. Schulte – Published in the BizWest Thought Leaders column in April 2017

The title comes from journalist Olivia Nuzzi, reminding us that technology, however useful, can bite us. Nowadays, evidence in lawsuits can be mostly emails, instead of more carefully edited letters and memoranda. This matters, because people write stupid things in emails they would not elsewhere. Policy and training do not help, and even if they did, there are limits; candor among coworkers is too important.

So, when faced with a lawsuit, it can be tempting to try to delete and cover up damaging internal emails, even from your own lawyers—but do not. Emails propagate in a network like rabbits in a field, and everything eventually comes out. Better to get the worst into your lawyers’ hands quickly, to help them help you develop a strategy to deal with it early on.

Attorney Timothy R. Odil Promoted to Equity Member of the Firm

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC is proud to announce the promotion of attorney Timothy R. Odil to Equity Member. “We are thrilled to have Tim as our partner in our firm,” says Partner John Kolanz. “His hard work on the most complex litigation matters and his mentorship of our younger attorneys has made him a valuable asset to us and our clients,” adds Kolanz.

Tim is a key member of the firm’s litigation team. His practice focuses on disputes among private parties as well as disputes with local, state, or federal government agencies. He handles complex business litigation and appeals, government and commercial contract disputes, regulatory compliance, licensing disputes, and rulemaking issues, as well as employment law matters.

Tim was recognized as a Colorado Lawyer of the Year in 2014 by Law Week Colorado. The honor was in recognition of Tim’s superior work in both the trial court and the appellate court. Tim was selected as an honoree in the 2015 BizWest 40 Under Forty Leaders Honor Roll program. This program recognizes Northern Colorado’s top 40 young professionals under the age of 40, who represent the best and the brightest emerging leaders that make a difference in their companies, industries, and communities. Tim was also voted one of Business Connect’s 2016 Top 20 Under 40, which recognizes the top business performers under age 40 in Weld County. Tim has also been recognized several times as a Colorado Rising Star by Law & Politics, and he is a former board member of Rebuilding Together Metro Denver.

A Colorado native, Tim received his law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University. Tim began his legal career as a law clerk in the Weld County Courts, where he clerked for District Court judges J. Robert Lowenbach and Daniel S. Maus.

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Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC provides real estate and business law services throughout Northern Colorado. OBP has 15 attorneys serving its two offices in Greeley and Loveland. For more information, please visit www.nocoattorneys.com.