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Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division Five
April 4, 2019, Decided
Court of Appeals No. 17CA2046
[**10] Opinion Modified On the Court's Own Motion
[*P1] This case requires us to decide whether the claims of plaintiff, Brent M. Houchin, brought under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) against defendant, Denver Health and Hospital Authority (Denver Health), a political subdivision of the State of Colorado, are subject to the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). In City of Colorado Springs v. Conners, 993 P.2d 1167 (Colo. 2000), the Colorado Supreme Court held that CADA claims were not subject to the CGIA.1
[*P2] But CADA was amended in 2013 to include legal remedies for the first time. Denver Health thus claims that, applying the rationale in Conners to the amendments made to CADA in 2013, CADA claims are no longer exempt [***3] from CGIA coverage. Because we agree in part with Denver Health, we reverse that portion of the district court's order denying governmental immunity to plaintiff's claim seeking legal remedies. But, following Conners, we affirm the district court's order to the extent it allows plaintiff to pursue equitable remedies against Denver Health.
I. Relevant Facts and Procedural History
[*P3] Denver Health was created in 1994 by Colorado statute and is a political subdivision of the State of Colorado. § 25-29-103(1), C.R.S. 2018; see also Ch. 126, sec. 1, § 25-29-103(1), 1994 Colo. Sess. Laws 657. It owns and operates a major hospital in Denver and other health facilities in Colorado. Plaintiff is a former human resources manager at Denver Health. Denver Health terminated his employment, purportedly because he used confidential patient records of Denver Health employees for disciplinary purposes, in violation of the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
[*P4] Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD), asserting that the real reasons for his termination were sexual orientation discrimination and unlawful retaliation for asserting his CADA rights.2 The charge of discrimination [***4] was not timely resolved by the CCRD, and the agency issued a notice of right to sue. See § 24-34-306(15), C.R.S. 2018.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2019 COA 50M *; 479 P.3d 9 **; 2019 Colo. App. LEXIS 641 ***
Brent M. Houchin, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Defendant-Appellant.
Subsequent History: Writ of certiorari granted, in part, Writ of certiorari denied, in part Denver Health & Hosp. Auth. v. Houchin, 2020 Colo. LEXIS 86, 2020 WL 532966 (Colo., Feb. 3, 2020)
Reversed by, Remanded by Denver Health & Hosp. Auth. v. Houchin, 2020 Colo. LEXIS 1097, 2020 CO 89, 2020 WL 7485017 (Dec. 21, 2020)
Prior History: [***1] City and County of Denver District Court No. 17CV32286. Honorable David H. Goldberg, Judge.
Houchin v. Denver Health & Hosp. Auth., 2019 Colo. App. LEXIS 473, 2019 COA 50, 2019 WL 1474320 (Apr. 4, 2019)
Disposition: ORDER AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND CASE REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.
political subdivision, public entity, immunity, remedies, employees, injuries, equitable, waive, district court, legal remedy, reasons, rights, compensatory damages, plaintiff's claim, discriminatory, volunteer, purposes, equitable relief, benefits, roads, public employee, form of relief, backpay, reinstatement, claimant, damages, no rational relationship, governmental immunity, compensatory relief, employment practice
Labor & Employment Law, Discrimination, Actionable Discrimination, Torts, Public Entity Liability, Immunities, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Courts, Judicial Precedent