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State v. Hill.

2023 CO 31. No. 22SC119. Standing—Declaratory Judgment.

June 5, 2023

The Supreme Court held that an individual lacks standing to pursue a declaratory judgment “that a river segment was navigable for title at statehood and belongs to the State.” A declaratory judgment is procedural, not substantive, in nature. Accordingly, to demonstrate a legally protected interest to establish standing for a declaratory judgment, a party must assert a legal basis on which a claim for relief can be grounded. Here, Hill has no legally protected right independent of the state’s alleged ownership of the riverbed onto which he can hook a declaratory judgment claim. Hill’s asserted legally protected interests rest on an antecedent question of whether the state owns the property at issue. Therefore, these asserted interests cannot provide him with standing to pursue a declaratory judgment action.

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