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Reynolds v. Great Northern Insurance Co.

2023 COA 77. No. 22CA1305. Insurance Companies—Required Disclosures—Penalty for Untimely Disclosures—One-Year Limitation of Actions for Any Penalty—Continuing Violation Doctrine.

September 7, 2023

Reynolds was in a car accident with a driver insured by Great Northern Insurance Company (Great Northern). Following the accident, Reynolds sent a formal written request to Great Northern for the insured’s policy information. Great Northern’s registered agent received the request on November 17, 2020, but Great Northern did not comply with the request until April 22, 2022. On May 4, 2022, Reynolds filed a complaint seeking statutory penalties under CRS § 10-3-1117(2)(a), asserting that Great Northern was required to provide the requested policy information within 30 days of receiving the request. Great Northern moved to dismiss the complaint under CRCP 12(b)(5), asserting that the claim was barred by the CRS § 13-80-103(1)(d) one-year statute of limitations applicable to “all causes of action for any penalty.” The district court dismissed the complaint as time-barred.

On appeal, Reynolds argued that the district court reversibly erred in finding that a claim for penalties under CRS § 10-3-1117 accrues on the 31st day after an insurer fails to provide the required disclosures. She maintained that the claim accrues the day after an insurer complies with a request. Section 10-3-1117(2)(a) requires motor vehicle insurers to disclose to prospective claimants certain policy information relevant to the claim. Under CRS § 10-3-1117(3), an insurer that fails to timely disclose the required information is liable to the claimant for damages of $100 per day, beginning on and including the 31st day following receipt of the claimant’s written request. CRS § 13-80-103(1)(d) imposes a one-year statute of limitations on actions for penalties. Because CRS § 10-3-1117 imposes a penalty, the one-year statute of limitations applies to it. As relevant here, under CRS § 13-80-108(9), a cause of action for penalties is deemed to accrue when the determination of the delinquency for which the penalties are assessed is no longer subject to appeal (there is no appeal process for the penalty in CRS § 10-3-1117(3)). Therefore, the determination of delinquency (i.e., not providing the insurance policy) is statutorily established as the 31st day after the insurer’s registered agent receives the written request. Here, the 31st day after Great Northern received Reynolds’ request was December 18, 2020, so the one-year statute of limitations expired on December 18, 2021. Accordingly, the district court correctly held that Reynolds’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations.

Reynolds also argued that even if the one-year statute of limitations applies to her claim, the limitations period was tolled under the continuing violation doctrine. However, this doctrine has been limited to discrimination cases in Colorado. Therefore, the court of appeals expressly declined to apply it.

The judgment was affirmed.

Official Colorado Court of Appeals proceedings can be found at the Colorado Court of Appeals website.

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