Key Differences between State Courts (Wyoming and Colorado)

Posted by Clyde Hutchins | Apr 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Harmony Law, LLC engages in civil litigation in all state and federal courts in Wyoming and Colorado. There are distinct differences in civil litigation in state court between the two states.

One of the key differences is that in Colorado, the defendant has to pay a filing fee. The fee varies depending up on whether the defendant is simply filing an answer or an answer and counterclaim. The defendant does not have to pay a fee in Wyoming. In my opinion, Wyoming's system is better because it is unfair to require someone that was sued involuntarily to have to pay a filing fee to respond to the complaint.

I notice that Colorado judges play a more active role in case management than Wyoming judges. Although things have tightened up a bit in the past few years in Wyoming, by and large, Wyoming judges in state district courts allow the parties to set the pace of their cases. In Colorado the judges put a lot of effort into managing the case schedule and ensuring that the parties are moving the case along. I think there are benefits to Colorado's practice. It serves no one well to have a case languish for months and months with no progress.

Wyoming has fewer rules than Colorado. Although Wyoming and Colorado both model their rules of civil practice on the federal rules of civil practice, there are significant differences in practice because Colorado has additional civil practice rules on top of the regular rules. Additionally, many of the state court judges in Colorado have extensive orders mandating practices in their courts. Wyoming judges do have bench books, but they are not as extensive as the ones in Colorado. I find that this difference cuts both ways. On the one hand, it is nice to have a road map for how to do everything, as in Colorado. On the other hand, it is a lot of effort to keep up with each Colorado judge's particular requirements when one is practicing statewide.

Discovery disputes are better managed in Colorado. Colorado has a practice of forcing the parties to have short hearings on discovery disputes without having to write voluminous briefs explaining the issues. In Wyoming state courts, you are more likely to file a motion and brief. This benefits the parties by allowing discovery disputes to be better managed and avoiding great expense.

There are many more differences between the states. This list simply captures the differences I notice most often.

If you are in need of representation in civil litigation in Wyoming or Colorado, please feel free to contact Harmony Law, LLC.

Update: The original blog post noted that Colorado had an electronic filing system, but Wyoming did not. That has been changing as Wyoming gradually implements an electronic filing system through File & ServeXpress. See this blog post for more on Wyoming's electronic filing system.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins started his legal career in Cheyenne, Wyoming as a law clerk for the district court judges. Mr. Hutchins then entered private practice with a Wyoming based litigation and business law firm. Later, Mr. Hutchins went to Alaska, where he was the chief litigator for a firm that engaged in bond law, corporate law, securities law, and municipal law. The State of Wyoming hired Mr. Hutchins from Alaska to represent the State of Wyoming in the national tobacco arbitration and act as its tobacco settlement attorney. While in that position, as a hobby, he developed an enforcement unit for consumer protection for Wyoming residents. Mr. Hutchins moved to Colorado in 2016 and founded Harmony Law, LLC. Harmony Law is primarily engaged in civil litigation. It is also a general practice firm in the areas of business law, estate planning, consumer law and family law. Harmony Law is active in all state and federal courts throughout Wyoming and Colorado.


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