One Colorado case, which defendants seem to compelled to misconstrue, regarding procedure in cases of inconsistent verdicts, is Morales v. Golston. There, the court first noted: “No Colorado appellate opinion has addressed whether failure to object to any inconsistencies in the verdict before the jury is discharged waives the right to raise the issue in post-trial motions or on appeal.” 141 P.3d 901, 905 (Colo. App. 2005).
The Morales court reviewed some Tenth Circuit cases and noted that “The Tenth Circuit has held that a party waives the right to object to inconsistencies in a general verdict with special interrogatories if it does not object on that ground before the jury is discharged unless the verdict is inconsistent on its face such that the entry of judgment upon the verdict is plain error.” 141 P.3d at 905 (underscoring added).
But the Morales court stated:
Colorado requires the use of a special verdict in tort cases involving multiple defendants. See § 13–21–111.5(2), C.R.S.2005 (requiring that a jury return a special verdict “determining the percentage of negligence or fault attributable to each of the parties”); Miller v. Byrne, 916 P.2d 566, 578 (Colo. App. 1995)(§ 13–21–111.5(2) “directs that the jury must return a special verdict determining the percentage of negligence or fault attributable to each of the parties and forbids the use of a general verdict. These provisions are mandatory.”); see also Bohrer v. DeHart, 961 P.2d 472, 476 (Colo.1998)(“Special verdict forms focus the jury on the essential issues attendant to a finding of liability—total damages and the relative fault of the parties.”). . . .
After the jury returns its verdict, the court applies the law to the facts found by the jury and enters judgment accordingly. Here, the verdict forms required the jury to answer specific questions of fact regarding fault and damages, and the judgments themselves required application of the law by the court to the facts found by the jury.
141 P.3d at 906. In cases of comparative fault, the jury is required to find causation as to multiple “responsible” parties as a prerequisite to an apportionment of percentages of fault among those multiple defendants, party and non-party alike.
As to special verdicts, the Morales court expressly held: “Rule 49(a) does not require a party to object to the inconsistencies in a jury’s answers to a special verdict before the jury is discharged in order to preserve its right to challenge the inconsistencies in a subsequent motion or on appeal.” Always check the current standing of any case before relying on its holdings.