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HEIDI E. STORZ

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JEFFREY P. KERRANE

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Aspen Meadows

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How our Law Firm is Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

by Karli Sharrow

 

On top of what our firm has already been committed to for years, we decided to celebrate Earth Day with employee pledges, and rejoice in the accomplishments we are each able to do in our personal lives.

It’s a small step, but as a team, we are devoted. We know impacting climate change is a group effort.

It’s clear to us that now, more than ever, we can pave the way for a better future together. We’re constantly working to inspire others to do what they can to create a better environment for our future. We encourage you to join us in working towards leaving the world better than we found it. Visit our website to see what our employees have committed to. We encourage you to make your individual pledge today!

Can we use only 100 percent recycled and responsibly sourced paper in our packaging? Can we become a paperless company? These are the bold questions that the Kerrane Storz shareholders were willing to ask of themselves and commit to a few years back.  We want to be a part of the resolution and not a part of the problem with climate change. To preserve resources, we have committed to using 100 percent recycled paper, which we also recycle after each use. We’ve tracked our carbon footprint and our goal is to eliminate it. For more than ten years, Kerrane Storz has been purchasing carbon offsets to offset our firm’s carbon footprint. We also invest in economically friendly promotional products. But we know there is more we can do. This year, in honor of the 50th celebration of Earth Day, we have asked all of our employees including our shareholders, to contribute with their own individual pledges for Earth Day.  Our employees were excited to share a personal commitment with their work-family as well as participate together in becoming a part of the change for our environment. The pledges range from using reusable containers and water bottles, recycling, composting, using biodegradable products, planting gardens, giving up Ziploc bags, doing weekly trash pickups, driving electric or hybrid cars, investing in reusable grocery bags, and planting trees. That’s just a start for us all. And we plan to encourage and support our staff through their years’ worth of pledges.  We also seek to find new ways our law firm can improve in becoming more eco-friendly. With this, we are able to better serve our client base by providing mindful preservation of our planet.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat. Turn every day into earth day.

Cinco Ranch II

by arenteria

Park at Fossil Ridge

by dbrown

Kerrane Storz Gives Back to ‘Food for Thought’

by Karli Sharrow

 

Kerrane Storz' passion is greater than just helping those affected by construction defects; we have a passion and a commitment to giving back to the local community.

In light of the current situation sweeping across the nation, Kerrane Storz chose to monetarily donate to the Food Bank of the Rockies. Food Bank of the Rockies makes food security a reality for every Colorado Family. The homeless represent only 10% of the Food Bank of the Rockies' food recipients. Almost half of the food they distribute goes toward children.

Kerrane Storz also participated in helping Food for Thought, who works closely with the Food Bank of the Rockies, to ensure children from the Denver Public School District have meals to sustain them during the weekend. With the school district closures and as many students rely on the school district for breakfast and lunch, this food was needed now more than ever. Volunteers from Food For Thought were vetted, asked to wear gloves, and maintain a safe distance for the entirety of the outreach event. 

The volunteers began working on Friday, 3/20/20, before the sun came up. Most showed up at 5:30 a.m. in 22-degree weather, snow coming down, to unpack boxes of non-perishable foods. And together they prepared over 3,500 bags of food to be delivered to 12 different locations around the Denver metropolis where families in need would be waiting.

Food Bank of the Rockies is working tirelessly to distribute food to people in need. as well as helping provide food with Food for Thought Denver. They are expecting to see an increase in need as many people in our community are experiencing layoffs, pay-cuts and fewer hours. Donations are vital for these non-profits to continue their good work in our community. You can donate to either organization from the safety of your own home by following the links provided below. If you're able to contribute, we encourage you to consider doing so as our community needs donors during this difficult time.

https://www.foodbankrockies.org/give/give-funds/

https://www.coloradogives.org/index.php?section=organizations&action=newDonation&fwID=38118

Fine Print

by jkerrane

murphycreek

by dmorley

MALLORY FIRMERY

by Karli Sharrow

Westlake

by jmcgrane

Job Opening: Litigation Attorney, Denver Office

by Jeff Kerrane KS News

Civil Litigation Attorney
 
Are you the attorney who was not intimidated to take a deposition in your first year practicing law?  Do you want to work closely with some of the best attorneys in their field?  Are you the attorney who desires to turn every situation into a win for your client?  Do you want a unique hands-on experience that only a small firm can offer?  If this resonates with you, then our Attorney position would interest you.  Kerrane Storz is a multi-state plaintiffs' construction-defect law firm.  Our firm has been recognized as a leader in our practice area through many awards, including being recognized as a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News.  Our shareholders and attorneys have received many awards including Best Lawyers by U.S. News, Top 100 Super Lawyers and many others.  
 
We are looking for an attorney with 2+ years experience who has strong writing and legal research skills, as well as someone with excellent analytical skills, common sense, initiative, and an adventurous spirit.  The exceptional candidate will be someone who can make difficult legal concepts understandable, relate well to clients, think creatively, and lead business development activities. There are many advantages to working for a smaller firm, such as participating in more interesting legal work, learning from and developing relationships with shareholders and senior attorneys, enjoying the advantages of flexible work hours, casual dress code, and a relaxed atmosphere, and enhancing your prospect to be recognized for your contributions.  
 
Interested candidates should e-mail their résumé, cover letter, salary requirements, references, and a writing sample to Marie Sonnen.  msonnen@kerranestorz.com

Phils Test Case

by pcardenas

Lakeshore-Lennar

by jmcgrane

Job Openings: Law Clerks for Summer 2020, Denver Office

by Jeff Kerrane KS News

Summer Law Clerk

Are you the type of law student who would not be intimidated to take a deposition in your first year as an attorney?  Do you want to work closely with some of the best attorneys in their field?  Do you want a unique hands-on experience that only a small firm can offer?  If this resonates with you, then our summer Law Clerk position would interest you.  Kerrane Storz is a multi-state plaintiffs' construction-defect law firm.  Our firm has been recognized as a leader in our practice area through many awards, including being recognized as a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News.  Our shareholders and attorneys have received many awards including Best Lawyers by U.S. News, Top 100 Super Lawyers and many others.  

We are looking for someone with strong writing skills to do legal research and draft motions and other pleadings, as well as someone with excellent analytical skills, common sense, and an adventurous spirit.  The exceptional candidate will have to be willing to jump in and do whatever they can to learn about our busy legal practice. There are many advantages to working for a smaller firm, such as participating in more interesting work, gaining hands-on legal experience, learning from and developing relationships with shareholders and senior attorneys, enjoying the advantages of flexible work hours, casual dress code, and a relaxed atmosphere, enhancing your prospect to be recognized for your contributions, increasing your opportunities to learn, and possibly receiving an offer to join the firm as an attorney upon graduation.  

This is full-time summer position.  We are open to rising 2Ls or rising 3Ls.  Interested candidates should submit their résumé, cover letter, law school transcript, three references, and a writing sample to Marie Sonnen at msonnen@kerranestorz.com.

 


 

Jeff Kerrane & Heidi Storz Named to 5280’s Top Lawyers List for 6 Consecutive Years

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsAccolades

January 2019

Jeff Kerrane & Heidi Storz Named to 5280’s Top Lawyers List for the sixth consecutive year.

5280 Magazine invited nearly 16,000 licensed attorneys in the seven-county metro area to participate in their survey. They assembled a list of 50 specialties based on input from attorneys and law firms.

"It’s simply a fact of life that even the least litigious among us will need a lawyer at some point. When you find yourself in that position, navigating the complicated legal world can be overwhelming, especially when you consider that the law has been split into dozens of categories: Everything from criminal law to insurance necessitates specific expertise. That’s why we compiled Denver’s Top Lawyers 2020, our sixth annual list of the best attorneys in the region. We first invited attorneys in the seven-county metro area to vote for the peers they respect most in 50 specialties. Survey responses in hand, we did weeks of reporting to get an on-the-ground perspective: Who are the best litigators? The finest contract writers? Who’s quietly building a name for herself? Who’s coasting on an outdated reputation?"

WesTown

by jmcgrane

Kerrane Storz, P.C. ranked in 2020 U.S. News and World Report “Best Law Firms”

by Karli Sharrow KS News

January 8, 2020 -- U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®, for the tenth consecutive year, announce the "Best Law Firms" rankings.

Kerrane Storz, P.C. has been ranked in the 2020 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" list and regionally in Commercial and Construction Litigation.

Firms included in the 2020 "Best Law Firms" list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

The 2020 Edition of "Best Law Firms" includes rankings in 75 national practice areas and 127 metropolitan-based practice areas. Additionally, one "Law Firm of the Year" was named in each nationally-ranked practice area.

Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity.

 

View the full press release.

The End of Declarant Control: Cleaning up the Confusion

by Jeff Kerrane ArticlesQuestions AnsweredArticles Gallery

The End of Declarant Control:  Clearing up the Confusion

Jeff Kerrane, Esq.

Transition of a community association’s board of directors from declarant control to homeowner control is a process that is done inconsistently and with spotty documentation.  This can sometimes lead to problems down the road if the association ever has legal issues with its declarant.  The following FAQ is intended to address some of the most misunderstood aspects of the end of the declarant control process.   

What is the period of declarant control?

The period of declarant control is the time when the declarant, or persons designated by the declarant, may appoint and remove the officers and members of the executive board.  C.R.S. § 38-33.3-303.  When the declarant no longer has the authority to appoint or remove board members, the period of declarant control is over.

When does the period of declarant control end?

Unless a shorter time is provided in the declaration (which is uncommon), the period of declarant control ends when the first of one of these things occurs:

  1. 60 days after conveyance of 75% of the units
  2. Two years after the last conveyance of a unit by the declarant in the ordinary course of business, or
  3. Two years after any right to add new units was last exercised. 

For most associations, the period of declarant control will end 60 days after 75% of the units are sold.

When can the homeowners start electing board members?

Before the end of declarant control, the homeowners are entitled to elect some members of the board.    No later than 60 days after conveyance of 25% of the units that may be created, at least one member and not less than 25% of the members of the executive board must be elected by unit owners other than the declarant.   No later than 60 days after conveyance of 50% percent of the units, not less than 33 1/3% of the members of the executive board must be elected by unit owners other than the declarant.

For a three member board, this means that after 25% of the units are sold, the homeowners should elect one board member.  For a five member board, the homeowners should elect 2 members.  Unless the board has more than five members, after 50% of the units are sold, there is no change.  A three member board would still have one elected member.  A five member board would still have two elected members.

Can the declarant appoint homeowners to the board during the period of declarant control?

Yes.  The declarant can use its power to appoint or remove any person from the board the declarant chooses.  However, unit owners should be wary about being a declarant appointed member of the board.  C.R.S. § 38-33.3-303(2) provides that declarant appointed board members may have personal liability for their actions as board members.  Board members who are elected by the homeowners are protected from personal liability except for “wanton and willful acts or omissions.”  This means that a homeowner who is appointed to the board by the declarant could be exposed to more personal liability than a homeowner who is elected by the other homeowners.

Can the declarant vote in these elections?

No.  The declarant cannot vote to elect board members, ever.  Unfortunately, however, the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA) is not as clear as it should be.  C.R.S. § 38-33.3-303(6) specifically says that the declarant cannot vote at the 25% and 50% mark. However, C.R.S. § 38-33.3-303(7) is silent as to whether the declarant can vote at the 75% mark when the declarant control period ends.  However, C.R.S. § 38-33.3-303(9) somewhat awkwardly clarifies that unit owners “other than the declarant” may participate in the election at the end of declarant control.

At the end of declarant control, do the homeowners get to elect a majority of the board, or the entire board?  

 The homeowners should elect the entire board at the end of the period of declarant control.  This is another area whether CCIOA is not as clear as it should be.  C.R.S. § 38-33.3-303(7) says that at the 75% mark, the owners shall “elect an executive board of at least three members.”  This subsection means that the board must have at least 3 members.  However, regardless of the size of the board, the entire boards must be elected at this time.  There should be no declarant appointed board members on the board after the period of declarant control.    

Can the declarant have candidates run for positions on the board at the end of declarant control?

Yes, but there are limitations.  At the end of declarant control, the owners must elect the entire board, and the board must have at least three members.  The declarant cannot vote.  The declarant can have its representatives run for these positions.  However, a majority of the newly elected board must be unit owners “other than the declarant.”  So if the declarant runs multiple candidates who, if elected, would make up a majority of the board, then at least some of the declarant’s candidates must be disqualified to make room for unit owners other than the declarant to make up a majority of the board. Because of the conflicts of interest that can occur by having declarant candidates run for board positions, a community association manager should discourage a declarant from running for board positions after the end of declarant control.

What documents should the board sign at the end of declarant control?

The simple answer is none.  Documentation of the end of declarant control is important and it is helpful when the minutes of the homeowner meeting can clearly indicate that it is the transition meeting where the homeowners are electing their first homeowner controlled board.

However, there are no documents that the new board is required to sign at the end of declarant control showing that the homeowners are “accepting” the common areas.  Many developers will attempt to get a newly-elected board to sign a complete release of liability as part of the transition process, sometimes in exchange for a small payment to compensate the association for minor landscaping issues.  It is almost always a bad idea for an association to sign any such document.  DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING without first checking with an independent attorney hired by the new homeowner controlled board.     

Jeff Kerrane is a shareholder at Kerrane, Storz, PC, which represents homeowners and community associations in construction defect actions.  Complimentary transition evaluation available. Jeff can be reached at jkerrane@kerranestorz.com or (720) 898-9680.

 See Full Article HERE

KS Blog

by pcardenas

Skyestone

by Karli Sharrow

Cityscape

by jmcgrane

Cole Park Place

by arenteria

Washington Village

by ebondurant

Salida River Front

by dbrown

Vintage di Vita

by jmcgrane

Lake Front

by Karli Sharrow

Crestview at Prosper

by arenteria

Genesee Village I

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Green Mountain II

by dbrown

Executive Manor

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Caley Ponds

by Karli Sharrow

ShadowGlen

by arenteria

Broadview Terraces

by jmcgrane

Jeff Kerrane, Heidi Storz, Danita Glenn and Michael Lowder Named to 2019 and 2020 Super Lawyers Lists

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsColoradoNewsTexasAccoladesPress Releases

January 1, 2020 -- Kerrane Storz is proud to announce that Jeff Kerrane, Heidi Storz and Michael Lowder have been named to the 2020 Super Lawyers lists, and Danita Glenn has been named to their 2020 list. 

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.  In addidion to the Colorado lists, Michael Lowder has also been named to the Minnesota List and Danita Glenn has been named to the Texas Super Lawyers List.

Jeff Kerrane, Colorado Super Lawyers Top 100, 2014-2020, Colorado Super Lawyers, 2012-2020

Heidi Storz, Colorado Super Lawyers Top 100, 2014-2020, Colorado Super Lawyers Top 50 Women, 2013-2020, Colorado Super Lawyers, 2012-2020

Michael Lowder, Colorado Rising Star, 2016-2020, Minnesota Rising Star, 2016-2018

Danita Glenn, Texas Rising Star, 2019

McMillan

by arenteria

Stetson Ridge Townhomes

by mvitello

Grand Peak

by dbrown

Jefferson Park

by jmcgrane

Law Week Colorado Names Heidi Storz Barrister’s Best Construction Defect Attorney for Plaintiffs

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsColoradoNewsAccolades

October 8, 2018

Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson is pleased to announce that Heidi Storz, managing partner, has been selected by Law Week Colorado Barrister’s Best 2018 as Best Construction Defects Lawyer – Plaintiffs, Barrister’s Choice.  This coveted recognition comes from Law Week’s readers and editorial staff, declaring that “Storz seems drawn to help the underdog.  And if her track record is any indicator, she’s terrific at it.”  Well done, Heidi, for your dedication and support!

12th Annual Oktoberfest Raises over $40,000 for JAMLAC

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsColoradoNewsGet to Know BKSNGiving BackPress Releases

September 21, 2018

The law firms of Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson and Orten Cavanagh & Holmes held their 12th annual Oktoberfest celebration at Mile High Station in Denver this past Friday evening.  Over 325 community managers, construction professionals, and others who serve the state’s numerous community associations put on their lederhosen and dirndls to celebrate with food trucks dishing out authentic German cuisine, a fully-loaded pretzel rack, and a much-loved charcuterie station – not to mention, some ice-cold lagers served in commemorative steins and mugs from each of the past events, along with prizes, raffles, and games.

This year, Oktoberfest raised over $40,000 dollars to support the Denver-based Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Clinic (JAMLAC), whose attorneys, staff, and volunteers provide much-needed pro-bono legal assistance and advocacy in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, immigration, records-sealing, and other civil matters.  For more information about this amazing organization, please visit www.jamlac.com.

 

To view photos of this event, please visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/HOAOktoberfest/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2497058283667718

Heidi Storz named to 2019 Best Lawyers® list

by Karli Sharrow

August 15, 2018 -- Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. is pleased to announce that  Heidi Storz has been included in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers in the areas of construction litigation and commercial litigation. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.

"Best Lawyers was founded in 1981 with the purpose of highlighting the extraordinary accomplishments of those in the legal profession. After three decades, we are proud to continue to serve as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals worldwide," says CEO Phillip Greer.

Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. congratulates Heidi for being named to the 2019 Best Lawyers list.

Schedule Test

by msiegle

Nevada Place

by jmcgrane

Nelson, Hussey, & Lowder - Voted Super Lawyers 2018 Minnesota

by Karli Sharrow

July 2018

Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C., a leading construction defect and insurance litigation firm, is proud to announce that three of its attorneys have been selected to the Thomson Reuters 2018 Minnesota Rising Stars list.  Less than 5 percent of attorneys in Minnesota are selected for this prestigious and highly sought-after honor.

In order to be selected for the Super Lawyers or Rising Stars list, each candidate is evaluated by a rigorous and unbiased selection process. The process includes peer nominations and independent evaluation and research by the Thomson Reuters Super Lawyer research team. Candidates are evaluated based upon 12 main indicators, including settlements, pro bono and community service, and scholarly lectures and writings.

The results produce a credible, comprehensive, and diverse list of exceptional attorneys within each region. Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson is proud that its attorneys exemplify excellence in every aspect of their practice.

This year's BKSN Minnesota Rising Stars:

Alex Nelson Minnesota Rising Star 2016-2018

Ross Hussey Minnesota Rising Star 2013-2015, 2017-2018

Michael Lowder Minnesota Rising Star 2016-2018

Congratulations to these attorneys on another year of achievement.

Windsong Townhomes At Kittredge Crossings

by ebondurant

Colorado Court of Appeals OK’s Filing of Construction Defect Complaint Prior to Completion of the Notice of Claim Process

by Alex Nelson

June 2018

In a new unpublished (for now, pending a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court) decision, the Colorado Court of Appeals interprets the Colorado Construction Defect Action Reform Act (“CDARA”) as permitting the filing of a complaint prior to the issuance of a pre-litigation notice of claim.

The dispute revolved around the construction of a custom single family home, and alleged construction defects in that home.  The case was commenced by the homeowners by filing it in the District Court prior to expiration of the statute of limitations on the construction defect claims. See C.R.C.P. 3.  The statutorily-required pre-litigation notice of claim was then later served, after the expiration of the 2 year limitations period, and the notice of claim process proceeded while the suit was already pending in the District Court.  The defendant homebuilder Zag Built, LLC argued that the notice of claim statute, C.R.S. 13-20-803.5, provides the exclusive mechanism to toll a limitations period in a construction defect action, and that since the notice of claim letter was sent after expiration of the limitations period, the action was untimely and should be dismissed. The Court of Appeals disagreed, citing the CDARA language providing for the remedy of a stay of proceedings when a suit is prematurely filed prior to completion of the notice of claim process.  See C.R.S. 13-20-803.5(9). The court determined that completion of the notice of claim process was not a jurisdictional defect that warranted dismissal of the action.

This ruling may lend some flexibility to homeowners and other construction defect plaintiffs that seek to quickly stop a limitations period from running further.  The filing of a lawsuit OR sending a notice of claim will suffice.  Also, aggressive plaintiffs that seek to streamline the pre-litigation and litigation processes may try to build overlap into the notice of claim timeline and the litigation steps of filing, serving, and moving a District Court lawsuit forward. 

See Curry v. Zag Built, LLC, 2018 COA 66, 2018 WL 2058176 (Colo. App. May 3, 2018) (unpublished).

Heritage Todd Creek

by ebondurant

Elacora Wheatlands

by msiegle

Hickory Shores

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Dublin Square

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CertainTeed Vinyl Siding

by msiegle

StoneCrest

by msiegle

Oakwood Village

by mfirmery

All four of BKSN’s Colorado Lawyers Make the 2018 Super Lawyers Lists

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsColoradoAccolades

SuperLawyers, the Thomson Reuters lawyer rating service, has announced the 2018 Colorado Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

We are excited to announce that our Colorado lawyers have been selected to the 2018 Thomson Reuters Colorado Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

  • Jeff Kerrane
    • Colorado Super Lawyers Top 100, 2014-2018
    • Colorado Super Lawyers, 2012-2018
  • Heidi Storz
    • Colorado Super Lawyers Top 100, 2014-2018
    • Colorado Super Lawyers Top 50 Women, 2013-2018
    • Colorado Super Lawyers, 2012-2018
  • Alex Nelson
    • Colorado Super Lawyers, 2014-2018
    • Colorado Rising Star, 2011-2013
  • Michael Lowder
    • Colorado Rising Star, 2016-2018

--

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

Lindell Avenue

by mfirmery

Lakeshore at Centerra

by Karli Sharrow

Versante Canyon

by Karli Sharrow

Twin Villa Neighborhoods

by mvitello

Texas Team

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Colorado Team

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Texas

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Colorado

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Resources

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Testimonials

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Results

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Insurance Claims

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Meet Our Teams

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Century City Condominiums

by dbrown

Denver’s Top Lawyers 2018

by Karli Sharrow

January 2018

Jeff Kerrane & Heidi Storz Named to 5280’s Top Lawyers List for the fourth consecutive year.

"Our list of the best attorneys—461 this year—in the Denver metro area. Plus: As the Mile High City rapidly evolves, we highlight a few areas of law pertinent to life in a growing city."

 

Pine Creek

by dbrown

Montecito

by dmorley

Heidi Storz named to 2018 Best Lawyers® list

by Karli Sharrow

December 26, 2017 -- Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. is pleased to announce that Heidi Storz has been included in the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.

"For more than a third of the century," says CEO Steven Naifeh, "Best Lawyers has been the gold standard of excellence in the legal profession." President Phil Greer adds, "We are extremely proud of that record and equally proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these exceptional legal professionals."

Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. would like to congratulate all of the 2018 The Best Lawyers in America and our very own, Heidi E. Storz.

 

Clay 28

by Karli Sharrow

Taylor Paris Named a Top Attorney by Fort Worth Magazine for a Third Year in a Row

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsTexasGet to Know BKSNAccoladesPress Releases

November 28, 2017 -- Congratulations to Taylor Paris who has been named a Top Attorney by Fort Worth Magazine for Construction in 2017, his third year in a row to receive this recognition.

Fort Worth Magazine works diligently each year to put together the best list in town. Their list of Top Attorneys is drawn from nominations by other attorneys in the region and goes through a rigorous panel to assure the highest of quality is met.

 

See the Full Article 

BKSN named one of US News & World Report’s Best Law Firms 2018

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsAccoladesPress Releases

Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson has been named one of US News & World Report’s Best Law Firms.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® release 2018 “Best Law Firms” list

WASHINGTON – Nov. 1, 2017 – U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, for the eighth consecutive year, announce the “Best Law Firms” rankings.

Firms included in the 2018 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

“U.S. News has decades of experience evaluating key institutions in society—from colleges to hospitals,” says Tim Smart, executive editor at U.S. News. “Law firms perform a vital role in American life, and ranking them is a key extension of our overall mission to helps individuals and companies alike make important life decisions.”

The 2018 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and highest number of client ballots on record. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the U.S. Over 13,000 attorneys provided more than 1,000,000 law firm assessments, and over 7,500 clients provided more than 65,000 evaluations.

View the full press release.

Glendale Heights

by ebondurant

Impact Of 2017 MCIOA Modifications On Existing Common Interest Communities

by Alex Nelson ArticlesQuestions Answered

By now you’re probably aware that there have been changes made to the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (MCIOA) governing the operation of common interest communities (CICs).[1]  The most significant impact will be on communities formed on or after August 1, 2017, but existing communities are affected as well.  This article is the first of a three-part series and focuses on the MCIOA revisions affecting existing communities, those created before August 1, 2017.[2]

I.          Upkeep and the Preventive Maintenance Plan

CICs have always been responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement of common elements.[3]  This obligation will now also explicitly extend to damage resulting from lack of maintenance[4] (though this was already the implied practice).

By or before January 1, 2019, existing CICs will need to develop a written “preventive maintenance plan.”[5]  This is different from your long-term capital budget planning and any reserve studies that have or may be performed.  The new statutory section has three main components:

The board must prepare and approve a maintenance plan, maintenance schedule, and maintenance budget for the common elements;

The plan must be implemented by the deadline, and thereafter may be amended, modified or replaced “from time to time” as deemed necessary by the board; and

All unit owners must be provided with a copy of the plan, the schedule, and any amendments/modifications/replacements thereto.  Communication to the owners can be via paper copy, electronic copy, or electronic access through a web portal or something similar.[6]

 

What exactly needs to be addressed within the maintenance plan is left to the determination of the board, sort of.  The specific contents are not defined by this section of the statute but are filled in by other statutory provisions when read together with each community’s governing documents.

Note that the maintenance plan requirements apply only to common elements, not to any separate unit owner’s property.  On the other hand, limited common elements are still common elements and will need to be accounted for in the maintenance plan and budget.  Figuring out what your limited common elements are and what to do with them in terms of maintenance, repair and replacement can be one of the more vexing issues that board members and managers must address.  The 2017 MCIOA revisions will require you to squarely take up the question of what limited common elements you have in your community, as well as how you will plan and budget for their upkeep and replacement.

II.        Limited Common Elements

All common elements including all of the limited common elements of a community must be accounted for in the required preventive maintenance plan.  Limited common elements are designated for the exclusive use of the owners of the unit or units to which the limited common elements are allocated by the terms of the declaration.[7]  Portions of the structures in the community that are shared by multiple unit owners are specifically defined by statute as limited common elements.[8]  These may include exterior elements like roofs, siding, and shared driveways as well as chutes, flues, ducts, wires, pipes, conduits, bearing walls, etc. that serve one or more but fewer than all units and are located wholly or partially outside the unit boundaries.[9]  The declaration may alter the statutory defaults, so review of both the applicable statutes and the governing documents is necessary for each association.

Windows are always a source of debate and sometimes confusion as to who is responsible for upkeep.  For the record, windows are defined by statute as limited common elements unless the declaration says otherwise.[10]  By default, windows are limited common elements and must be included in the maintenance plan.  If your declaration is silent as to windows, it may be wise to review the historical treatment of windows, doors, etc. in your community to ensure that the association is in compliance with the MCIOA and governing documents.  If not, the maintenance plan deadline presents an opportunity to bring that treatment into compliance or to formally amend the governing documents to reflect the association’s “traditional” approach.

Careful review of the structures in the community must be undertaken to assess the elements of the buildings that may fall within the maintenance plan requirements.  Each association board will need to decide whether budgeting for property elements such as siding, roofs, driveways, pipes, windows, etc. is required for their community.  Outside guidance may be useful for this review in order to keep the board’s decisions firmly within the scope of the business judgment rule (and thus insulated from legal challenge later).

III.       Things That Did Not Change for Existing Communities

While existing communities must devise and implement new the maintenance plan requirements, they are exempt from the other changes made to the MCIOA.  All of the other the new provisions are applicable only to CICs created on or after August 1, 2017.[11]  For existing communities that means, among other things,

failure to document compliance with the maintenance plan requirements does not create a statutory defense in favor of contractors under the new § 515B.4-113(h);

the new pre-suit notice requirements of § 515B.3-102(d)(1) do not apply;

the new mandatory pre-suit majority voting requirements of § 515B.3-102(d)(2) do not apply; and

the mandatory pre-suit mediation and tolling provisions of § 515B.4-116 do not apply.

 

Another thing that did not change are the replacement reserve requirements of §§ 515B.3-114 or 1141 for residential communities.  The preventive maintenance budget should be accounted for under the annual operating budget, rather than being drawn from replacement reserves.  Annual budgeting will be more complicated where the maintenance schedule contemplates expenses on anything other than a yearly basis.

IV.       Summary

            For existing communities, the impacts of the 2017 MCIOA revisions are limited but significant.  Associations will need to develop a written maintenance plan, schedule and budget consistent with the MCIOA and governing documents.  The statute leaves plenty of flexibility for associations of different sizes and needs to develop a plan that is appropriate for the characteristics of their communities.  Large, diverse associations may benefit from the assistance of outside vendors to help identify and assess each of the common and limited common elements and to determine the appropriate preventive maintenance schedule and budget.

Homeowner-controlled boards in associations formed on or after August 1, 2017, will inherit preventive maintenance planning and budgeting from the declarant.  In the next article, we will address the impact of the new MCIOA provisions on those newly-formed CICs.

 

[1] Associations created before June 1, 1994, and which have not opted in to the MCIOA, are not affected.  See generally Minn. Stat. § 515B.1-102 for more detail on the applicability of the MCIOA.

[2] A common interest community is created upon the recording of the declaration.  See Minn. Stat. § 515B.2-101(a).

[3] Minn. Stat. § 515B.3-107(a).  Unit owners are likewise responsible for their units.  Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Minn. Stat. § 515B.3-107(b).

[6] Minn. Stat. § 515B.3-107(b).

[7] Minn. Stat. § 515B.2-109(a).

[8] See Minn. Stat. § 515B.2-109(c) and (d).

[9] See Minn. Stat. § 515B.2-109(c).

[10] See Minn. Stat. § 515B.2-109(d).

[11] Laws of Minnesota 2017, Ch. 87 (HF No. 1538), sec. 7.

Canyon Springs

by Karli Sharrow

Law Week Colorado Names Jeff Kerrane Barrister’s Best Construction Defect Attorney for Plaintiffs

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsColoradoGet to Know BKSNAccoladesPress Releases

October 15, 2017.  "With more than 20 years' experience in construction defects litigation in Colorado, Nevada and California, Benson Kerrane partner Jeff Kerrane is an expert in legal issues relating to community associations and has been recognized by Colorado Super Lawyers four years in a row"

Texas Court of Appeals (El Paso): An Association and its property manager were held jointly liable

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsArticlesTexasQuestions AnsweredConstruction Defects

Texas Court of Appeals (El Paso): An Association and its property manager were held jointly liable for failure to implement repairs recommended in a reserve study, even though the members of the Association voted down an attempted special assessment to fund the necessary repairs.

Lakeside Village Homeowners Ass’n v. Belanger, 08-15-00214-CV (Tex. Ct. App. June 14, 2017)

Townhome unit owners filed suit for trespass and negligence against their owners association, property manager, and management agent for improperly maintaining and repairing a retaining wall and associated common area adjacent to a townhome duplex. The unit owners alleged that the improper maintenance and repair allowing the common area to divert surface and subsurface water towards the townhome property, which caused damage to the townhomes by way of soils movement-induced foundation damage.

Two reserve studies performed by the management company in 2005 and 2010 revealed that a railroad-tie retaining wall running throughout the 498-unit community was structurally deficient and failing, and each reserve study recommended an immediate replacement of the railroad-ties with a concrete retaining wall.  The Association did not have sufficient reserve funds to address all of the repairs recommended in the reserve studies.  In 2011, the Association sought a special assessment to contribute to the reserve account to fund the recommended repairs, but the members voted against the special assessment.

The jury awarded actual damages to the homeowner Plaintiffs of approximately $100,000 for physical damage to their townhome units occasioned by the failure to repair and replace the retaining wall, and an additional award of prejudgment interest and attorneys fees was attached to the judgment.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals upheld the jury verdict and entry of judgment.  The Association is still responsible for the retaining wall repairs.

Homeowners associations, their boards of directors, and their property managers must be vigilant in evaluating the condition of the common areas in the community to determine whether a portion of the community was defectively constructed by the original builder/developer.  By failing to initially identify the construction defect from the 2005 reserve study, and seeking to simply repair the property by special assessment, the Association and the property manager become liable to the unit owners for damage to their property even though the Association and property manager sought to specially assess the members of the Association to pay for the needed repairs.  A construction defect suit, brought in 2005, could have funded the necessary repairs and avoided the property damage suffered by the homeowners.

Bridges on the Park

by dmorley

Grammercy Place

by mvitello

Red Cedar Canyon

by ebondurant

Karmaceuticals

by Karli Sharrow

Willow Creek

by Karli Sharrow

Lumber Giant Weyerhaeuser issues recall on Flak Jacket-coated fire-rated TJI Joists

by Karli Sharrow

New home buyers in several states, including Colorado and Minnesota, report odors from high levels of formaldehyde contained in Weyerhaeuser brand floor trusses.  Weyerhaeuser estimates that up to 2,200 homes could be impacted, all of which may need their floor joists removed and replaced in order to get the noxious chemicals out of the homes.  The defective trusses were reportedly manufactured by Weyerhaeuser between December 2016 and June 2017 and represented about $9M worth of revenue for the company.

Weyerhaeuser’s full press release on the issue: https://kerranestorz.com/uploads/content/Weyerhaeuser_issues_statement_regarding_TJI®_Joists_with_Flak_Jacket®_Protection_-_Jul_18__2017.pdf

BKSN’s attorneys are available to consult, at no cost, with homeowners that feel that their homes that may have been damaged by the faulty trusses. 

Knight’s Crossing

by mvitello

Three BKSN Lawyers Named to Thompson Rueters’ Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars List in MN

by Karli Sharrow Accolades

Super Lawyers, the Thomson Reuters lawyer rating service, has announced Alex Nelson, Ross Hussey and Michael Lowder have made the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Stars lists!

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

 

linkside

by dmorley

Aurora HOA wins $13.5 million award in dispute with Texas homebuilder—Denver Business Journal

by Denver Business Journal KS NewsColorado

http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2017/04/11/aurora-hoa-wins-13-5-million-award-in-dispute-with.html

All Seven Colorado BKSN Lawyers Named to Super Lawyers Lists

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsColoradoNewsGet to Know BKSNPress Releases

Super Lawyers, the Thomson Reuters lawyer rating service, has announced the 2017 Colorado Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists! We are proud to announce that all of our Colorado Lawyers have been selected for the Super Lawyers or Rising Stars lists. Attorneys Jeff Kerrane, Heidi Storz, Alex Nelson, and Tia Zavaras, were named Super Lawyers. Additionally, Duncan Griffiths, Michael Lowder, and Christopher Griffiths were named Rising Stars. Jeff and Heidi are also listed on the Top 100 Super Lawyers List, and Heidi and Tia are listed on the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers List. Congratulations to everyone selected to the Super Lawyers list!

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

Fair Wind II

by mvitello

Club Vista

by mvitello

Brooktree Village

by mvitello

Falcon Terrace

by mvitello

Briargate

by mvitello

BKSN is expanding its practice into Wisconsin, including the cities of Milwaukee and Madison!

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsPress Releases

Alex Nelson was just recently sworn in to the Wisconsin Bar! While maintaining our practices in Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas, we look forward to serving the Wisconsin legal market.

“We’re really excited to expand our practice across the border into Wisconsin. We can’t find another plaintiff’s law firm quite like ours in Milwaukee or Madison, that handles almost exclusively construction defect claims the way that we do. I think that our firm’s contingent fees and attorney-advanced litigation costs will be well received by homeowners and HOAs that need legal services but can’t afford to pay for them out-of-pocket, or that don’t want the risk of funding a lawsuit that has an uncertain outcome.  We’re really looking forward to getting involved in the Wisconsin legal community and advocating for Wisconsin property owners.”  - Alex Nelson, Partner

 

Jeff Kerrane & Heidi Storz Named to 5280’s 2017 Top Lawyers List

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsColoradoAccolades

January 2017

Jeff Kerrane & Heidi Storz Named to 5280’s Top Lawyers List for the third consecutive year.

5280 Magazine invited nearly 16,000 licensed attorneys in the seven-county metro area to participate in their survey. They assembled a list of 50 specialties based on input from attorneys and law firms.

http://www.5280.com/news/magazine/2016/12/denvers-top-lawyers-2017

Duncan Griffiths Named to The National Trial Lawyers’ Top 40 under 40

by Karli Sharrow KS NewsAccolades

We are pleased to announce that partner Duncan Griffiths has been selected for The National Trial Lawyers' "Top 40 under 40" for the second consecutive year!

“Membership is extended solely to the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile measured by objective and uniformly applied standards in compliance with state bar and national Rule 4-7. Invitees must exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer under the age of 40. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.”

Duncan practices construction and commercial litigation as well as denied and underpaid insurance claims.

http://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/profile-view/Duncan/Griffiths/12878/