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The mission of the Office of Expedited Settlement (ESP) is to expedite the resolution of disciplinary cases for the health, allied health, and business and technical programs of the Division of Professions and Occupations (Division). Resolution of disciplinary actions through stipulation without litigation is meant to expedite the resolution of disciplinary actions, while at the same time minimizing the associated legal costs of settling these actions.
This process begins with a complaint being reviewed by a Board or Program. If it is determined that disciplinary action is necessary, the Board or the Director determines the sanction to be offered to the Respondent. ESP then contacts the Respondent to discuss the offered sanction with the opportunity to sign a stipulation. If the Respondent accepts the terms of the stipulation, the Respondent signs the document, returns it to ESP, and the matter is then closed in ESP and processed through the Board or Program staff. If no agreement can be reached, or the Respondent fails to respond, the matter is closed in ESP and referred to the Office of the Attorney General for a hearing.
ESP does not practice law; rather it merely assists the Board or Director in the delivery of settlement proposals and the resolution of disciplinary actions.
ESP continues to contribute to the Division’s goal of consumer protection by accomplishing the prompt and complete resolution of disciplinary cases with less time and expense for the licensees (the consumers) regulated by the Boards and Programs within the Division.
In fiscal year 2012, ESP was able to resolve 893 of 967 disciplinary cases referred to it by the Boards and Programs within the Division, for a settlement rate of 92%. Its successful efforts in cost avoidance saved the Division almost $700,000 in litigation fees.
Similarly, in fiscal year 2011, ESP was able to resolve 888 of 1000 disciplinary cases referred to it, for a settlement rate of 89%. Its efforts in cost avoidance saved the Division over $660,000 in litigation fees.
In addition to working with licensees in Colorado, ESP has been able to resolve disciplinary cases with licensees throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, China, and the Far East.
Confidentiality: The ESP process is strictly confidential until stipulations are signed and final agency orders are issued by the Board or the Director. Complainants and/or the general public will not be able to receive information about pending cases until final disposition. Consumers seeking specific information about pending or final cases must direct all such inquiries to the Board or Program staff.
Attorney Issues: Many Respondents are able to resolve their complaints without the use of an attorney; however, it is the choice of the Respondent to hire counsel. ESP does not practice law and is not permitted to give legal advice under any circumstances.
If the Respondent does retain counsel, ESP should be notified immediately and all correspondence will be directed to both the Respondent and counsel. ESP staff will not interfere with the attorney-client relationship; but, it is Division policy to notify the Respondent of all correspondence. If ESP has knowledge of counsel, it will do its best to correspond with counsel as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I am a complainant, can you tell me about the case?
Answer: No, all actions in ESP are confidential and ESP staff is not able to discuss any case with anyone other than the Respondent and/or his counsel.
Question: Do I need an attorney?
Answer: Whether or not you retain an attorney is entirely your decision, there is no legal requirement that you have one. The staff in ESP is not able to give you legal advice.
Question: Why do I get mail or email from your office, even though I have counsel?
Answer: It is the policy of the Division to mail or email all correspondence to the Respondent. If a Respondent has counsel, and counsel is known to the Division, a copy of the correspondence will also be mailed or emailed to counsel.
Question: Can I negotiate my case with the ESP staff?
Answer: ESP staff can discuss but cannot negotiate with you about the discipline of your case. ESP staff is directed by the Board or Program and only the Board or the Director has the ability to negotiate the terms of your case. Any alternative proposals for resolution must be taken back to the Board or Program for consideration.
Question: What is the benefit of participating with ESP?
Answer: The terms of the disciplinary action will be sent in the form of a stipulation as decided by the Board or Program. If the Respondent chooses to accept the terms of the offer, the stipulation may be signed, returned and the matter completed. Therefore, the benefits are saving time, avoiding legal fees, reducing stress and avoiding litigation with the Office of the Attorney General.