Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs of Summit Cty. v. RodgersAnnotate this Case
Respondents Jason Rodgers and James Hazel brought a 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim against the Summit County Board of County Commissioners alleging the County violated the Equal Protection Clause of the federal Constitution when it denied them a certificate of occupancy to their newly built home. The trial court issued partial directed verdicts against respondents on three of the four allegedly discriminatory actions they named in their complaint. On appeal, the court of appeals reversed, concluding C.R.C.P. 50 did not permit partial directed verdicts, and that the trial court improperly considered the County' actions as separate issues rather than a pattern of conduct. The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the appellate court's ruling, finding that because Rule 50 is close to the summary judgment rule (C.R.C.P. 56) which permits partial judgments, the two rules should be interpreted in tandem. The Court could find "no convincing justification . . . for permitting partial summary judgments but not partial directed verdicts." The Court also disagreed with the court of appeals' additional rationale that the trial court misunderstood the nature of respondents' claim, as respondents requested the trial court to consider the four allegedly discriminatory actions as separate acts, rather than a pattern of conduct.