beyond a reasonable doubt

Archive for January, 2011

Cajun Shrimp Recipe

1 stick butter

1 stick margarine

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 TBS ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground rosemary

1 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

1 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 large lemons

2 lbs. shrimp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Melt butter and margarine. Thinly slice one lemon and juice one lemon.  Mix the ingredients except for the lemon slices and the shrimp.  Put about 1/4 cup of the mixture in a baking dish.  Layer the shrimp and the lemons.  Pour the remaining spice mixture over the shrimp.  Leave about 1″ of headroom in the baking dish.  Bake uncovered until the shrimp are done, stirring every 10-15 minutes. (Depending on the size of the shrimp this takes around 30-40 minutes.)  Serve with a crusty baguette and lots of napkins.

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Keeping or Losing Your Marbles

Four couples came to the marathon marble tournament.  Shooter and amber had been a team for a long time and had competed for their marbles which they kept in one large canister and although each competed, Shooter entered more tournaments and contributed many more clearies than Amber’s cat’s-eyes.

Dusty and Precious had been a team almost as long as Shooter and Amber but Precious didn’t like what marbles did to her manicure and almost never competed or won a round. Since Dusty travelled and competed he kept almost all of the marbles in his traveling case while Precious received a few choice orbs from Dusty which she kept in her favorite music box.

Lucky and Nott were neighbors of Shooter and Amber and had been in almost as many competitions. Almost all of their marbles were kept in a shoe box that they had found when they first met. A few competitions ago Lucky was given a coffee can full of Aggies when his father retired from marble competitions. Although Nott didn’t much like the coffee can and encouraged Lucky to use the shoe box, Lucky kept those Aggies in his coffee can. Shortly after Lucky’s dad retired, Nott’s mom sent her a large UPS package with her substantial collection of blue clearies. Nott didn’t like the cardboard UPS box and put the clearies in the shoe box with the other marbles the team had accumulated.

Biz and Ness were first attracted to each other because each was proficient in the marble ring and each had accumulated a significant bag-o-marbles. Biz kept his in a leather bag with a drawstring and Ness kept hers in a silk sack that smelled of perfume. Before going to the tournament they talked with their marble coaches and decided to write up a “pre-tournament agreement” so that they would know what would happen with the marbles they intended to win at the tournament. To make sure that there were no misunderstandings between the two they made lists of their Aggies and steelies and all of the rest of the spheres in their bags. Sometimes Biz would let Ness use some of his marbles but, their respective marbles always went back into his leather bag or her perfumed silk sack after the competition.

The marathon marble tournament was long, tiring and tempestuous. All of the couples were worn out and they each decided their marble competition partnerships were irretrievably broken. What else was there but for each of them to take their marbles and go home.

Shooter told Amber he should get the more numerous clearies because he put them in the canister. Dusty claimed the travelling case and insisted that Precious could only have the marbles in the music box. After all, Precious had never won any marbles. Nott insisted that he and Lucky were a team and needed to divide up all of the marbles even if Lucky got the first pick. Biz and Ness got out their copies of the “pre-tournament agreement”.

Unfortunately, Shooter and Amber, Dusty and Precious, and Lucky and Nott couldn’t agree how to divide up their marbles. Since they were each at odds, they petitioned the tournament referee to divide the marbles. After the referee heard from each couple, he made decisions for Shooter and Amber, Dusty and Precious, and Lucky and Nott, but not Biz and Ness.

Shooter and Amber each got one half of the clearies and cats eyes. Precious got her music box contents and half of the traveling case while Dusty got the other half of the travelling case, but nothing from the music box. Lucky got one-half of the shoe box and her coffee can of Aggies while Nott bid goodbye to half of the clearie collection nestled in the shoe box. Biz and Ness already had an agreement. Biz kept the marbles in his leather bag, and Ness kept the marbles in her silk sack. They didn’t need the referee.

What happened next? Biz and Ness went onto compete in many more tournaments each summer, spring and fall. Shooter gave up competitions, and went onto skeet shooting. Amber took Shooter’s unused marbles and gave half to their grandchildren. Precious and Dusty continued fighting with the referee about the quality of marbles that each were allotted at each subsequent marble tournament for many years. Lucky sold her marbles on e-bay and moved to American Samoa. Nott was never seen or heard from again.

Originally published in The Steamboat Local

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Presented by:  Rich Tremaine, managing attorney, KLAUZER & TREMAINE, LLC

Introduction and Disclaimers:  This program is primarily BAFL (Business Advice From Lawyer), though some portions will include reference to legal rules or guidelines that apply in business situations.  You should not consider any comments as “legal advice” that you would apply to a specific situation; specific legal advice should be sought.  The “stories” that are included in the presentation are based upon true events, but have been modified to protect client confidences.

Topics Planned for Discussion, with References:

1.  The Three Requirements for a Contract to Exist —  An Offer, Acceptance of the Offer, and Consideration.  (Colorado Jury Instructions, Civil, chapter 30 and related citations)

2.  Attorney Ethics for Consideration in Business – Examples for Discussion include “Competence” (Rule 1.1), “Communication” (Rule 1.4), and “Fees” (Rule 1.5). [For the full text of Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, go to, select “For the Public” in the left column, then choose the option “Opinions, Rules & Statutes” and finally the “Rules of Professional Conduct”.

3.  Business Entity Choices in Colorado – Partnerships, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies.  Registration info at: For an example of legal services and documents related to corporate set-up, go to and select the “business” category.

4.  Written Contracts – Basic Provisions recommended for inclusion.

5.  Business issues related to e-mail, social media, and electronic communications.

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Protecting Yourself When You Build or Remodel

Although the economy has not fully recovered from the recession and money is tight, now may be a good time to start that remodel or to build your new home. Local contractors are looking for work and building supplies and materials have dropped in price since the mortgage meltdown. If you are about to embark on a building project, this article will give you a few tips to help protect yourself in the event your construction project does not turn out as planned.

Construction litigation can be very complex and therefore very costly. This article cannot address every aspect or problem that could arise during a construction project. Even a small residential project, whether just a remodel or a new home, can have numerous components to it that must be tracked and verified. The paperwork involved in a construction project can be copious and complex. If you end up being in a position where you have no choice but to file suit, such a suit could be very expensive. It is always better to take whatever steps you can to protect yourself to avoid litigation, if at all possible.

Not every project will require that you hire an architect or a general contractor. If you plan to hire a general contractor, keep in mind that Colorado does not require a general contractor to be licensed so virtually anyone can give themselves that title. Be sure to get references and don’t be shy about contacting those references. Ask direct questions of those previous clients. Did the contractor get the job done promptly and within the time frames agreed upon? Did the contractor finish the job within budget? How was the quality of the work? How big was the punch list at the end of the project? Since many contractors feel most comfortable using the same subcontractors such as plumbers or electricians, ask about the subcontractors that were on the job because you are likely to see them working on your project.

Even if your project is small and you are not using an architect or a general contractor, be sure that everything is in writing! Start with an initial written contract that describes the project in detail. There are numerous types of construction contracts, be sure to read the contract so you know what it entails. Don’t be shy about asking questions and contact an attorney if your questions are not getting answered. The more complex the project, the more complex the contract should be. If your general contractor will be submitting periodic payment requests, be sure those requests are in writing, details the work done and the hours spent and describes and lists the material used.

Keep records! No matter the size of the project, there will be a tremendous amount of paperwork associated with it. Keep the paperwork and organize it in a logical fashion in case you need it later. If it is a big project, you should have several folders for the various portions of the job. Remember, if something goes wrong, you will have to justify and document your position. That means you will have to have invoices and receipts and be able to find them. If you end up having to file a lawsuit due to a problem with the work, you are likely going to be hiring an attorney. That means the attorney will want all of the records you kept. If you have them well organized, it will take the attorney less time to organize the material and assess your case and therefore save you money.

Take photographs! The digital cameras of today make it simple and easy to document every step of the work. Start taking pictures beginning with the excavation all the way through to the finished product. You don’t have to print them out until you need them in the future. Photographs are very helpful in the event you must pursue a lawsuit. They may disclose construction defects that you were not even aware of at the time the picture was taken. Sometimes a photograph can be the strongest evidence you have in a construction lawsuit. Take them and save them with the hope that you never use them.

Problems arise even with the smallest construction projects. Think ahead, maintain your records and document everything with paper and photographs. Contact an attorney sooner rather than later so that he or she can protect your interests. Not only will this practice give you the best protection in the future, but if your contractors know that you are paying attention to the project, they will do the same.

Originally published in The Steamboat Local


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Community Agriculture Alliance: Farm Property Tax Laws Revisited

The Colorado Court of Ap­­­peals recently considered the question: When is the owner of agricultural property eligible to receive the favorable “agricultural” tax classification? Fortunately for the landowner involved and for the owners of agricultural property in this region, the court took a common-sense approach to applying the facts of the case to the Colorado real estate tax law.

Under Colorado law, a property that is used for agricultural purposes, where the owner is attempting to make a profit — either from crops or from livestock uses — is entitled to an “agricultural” tax classification. This then results in a favorable tax rate. In this case, the Adams County assessor had classified the subject property as “vacant,” which resulted in a much higher tax rate to the owner, Aberdeen Investors Inc.

Aberdeen had purchased the property in 2004 and in July 2005 leased the property out for grazing for the remainder of the grazing season. Aberdeen also leased the property for grazing in 2006 and in 2007 requested that the property be classified as “agricultural.” The assessor denied the request, indicating that the property would have had to be in agricultural use on Jan. 1, 2005, in order to satisfy the requirement that the property be in agricultural use for the previous two years.

Although the court’s decision bogs down a bit in some technical legal interpretation, it did apply common sense in stating, “using a property as a farm or ranch seldom occurs on January 1.” Of course, this is not because farmers and ranchers party so hard on New Year’s Eve, it is because this time of winter is not growing season or grazing season in most of Colorado.

In summary, the court considered some of the basic realities of agriculture in our climate — the seasonal aspect of much of the activity, the fact that a portion of the property may lie fallow for a time to replenish the soil, and the fact that areas may be excluded from grazing or tilling for conservation reasons. The court indicated that the legal interpretation of this property tax law is to be reasonably applied to the realities of agricultural operations. If the Colorado Legislature wants the rules to be interpreted differently, then the Legislature can amend the law.

This type of practical opinion is important to this area of Colorado, where our growing and grazing seasons are much more abbreviated than much of the state. It also is important that the court recognizes that conservation practices might dictate that portions of the agricultural property are not used for specific agricultural purposes in a given year.

As a final aside, consider whether the county assessor might have viewed the situation differently — before he classified this property as “vacant” land in 2007 — if the owner had been the Aberdeen Ranch Inc., rather than the Aberdeen Investors Inc.

The citation to this case is Aberdeen Investors, Inc., v. Adams County Board of County Commissioners, 240 P.3d 398 (Colo.App. 2009)

Originally published in The Steamboat Pilot & Today

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