Estate of Marie M. Chavez

The summaries of the Colorado Court of Appeals published opinions constitute no part of the opinion of the division but have been prepared by the division for the convenience of the reader. The summaries may not be cited or relied upon as they are not the official language of the division. Any discrepancy between the language in the summary and in the opinion should be resolved in favor of the language in the opinion. SUMMARY August 4, 2022 2022COA89 No. 20CA1125, In re Estate of Chavez — Crimes — Civil Theft — Rights in Stolen Property — Treble Damages As a matter of first impression, a division of the court of appeals concludes that in awarding treble damages under section 18-4-405, C.R.S. 2021, a trial court must treble the actual damages awarded by the jury before offsetting any amounts already repaid. The civil theft judgment is reversed and remanded for the trial court to recalculate treble damages. The judgment is affirmed in all other respects. COLORADO COURT OF APPEALS 2022COA89 Court of Appeals No. 20CA1125 Douglas County District Court No. 18PR30128 Honorable Michael J. Spear, Judge In re the Estate of Marie M. Chavez, deceased. Gilbert M. Chavez, Appellant and Cross-Appellee, v. Teresa Chavez-Krumland, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Marie M. Chavez, Appellee and Cross-Appellant. ORDER AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND CASE REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS Division V Opinion by JUDGE FREYRE Fox and Gomez, JJ., concur Announced August 4, 2022 Anne Whalen Gill, L.L.C., Anne Whalen Gill, Castle Rock, Colorado; Gill & Ledbetter, LLP, H.J. “Jay” Ledbetter, Castle Rock, Colorado, for Appellant and Cross-Appellee Wade Ash Woods Hill & Farley, P.C., Jody J. Pilmer, Zachary D. Schlichting, Denver, Colorado, for Appellee and Cross-Appellant ¶1 In this probate matter, Gilbert M. Chavez appeals the breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, and civil theft orders entered in favor of Teresa Chavez-Krumland, conservator to Marie M. Chavez and personal representative to Marie’s1 estate (collectively, the Estate), after a jury trial.2 The Estate cross-appeals the court’s ruling denying treble damages on the civil theft claim. This claim presents an issue of first impression — whether a trial court may offset a defendant’s repayment against a jury’s damages award before determining treble damages. We conclude that it may not and that a court must first treble the jury’s damages awarded for civil theft and then deduct any amounts already repaid. Accordingly, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings. I. Background ¶2 After her husband died, Marie lived by herself on their ten- acre ranch (the Ranch). At various times over the years, her 1 Because multiple parties share the same last name, we use first names to distinguish them and mean no disrespect to the parties. 2 During the course of this appeal, Marie died and Teresa was appointed personal representative of Marie’s estate. Teresa was then substituted for Marie for purposes of this appeal. 1 children, including her son Gilbert, and grandchildren temporarily lived on …

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