Compulsory Counterclaim Rule In Colorado
A pleading shall state as a counterclaim any claim which at the time of filing the pleading the pleader has against any opposing party, if it arises out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the opposing party's claim and does not require for its adjudication the presence of third parties of whom the court cannot acquire jurisdiction.
The failure to plead a claim properly classified as a compulsory counterclaim bars any later action on the claim. Beathune v. Cain, 30 Colo. App. 321, 494 P.2d 603 (1971).
The policy behind the rule is to avoid multiple lawsuits between the parties to a transaction or occurrence.
Generally, a counterclaim is compulsory if it arises out of the same transaction or occurrence as the opposing party's claim.
The accepted method for determining whether a claim arises out of the same transaction or occurrence as the first claim is the logical relationship test: whether the subject matter of the counterclaim is logically related to the subject matter of the initial claim. See Visual Factor, Inc. v. Sinclair, 166 Colo. 22, 441 P.2d 643 (1968) (citing federal cases using a "logical relationship" test to determine if a counterclaim is compulsory); Beathune v. Cain, supra (a counterclaim is logically related to the opposing party's claim where separate trials on each of their respective claims would involve a substantial duplication of effort and time by the parties and the courts).
There are four express exceptions to the compulsory counterclaim rule.
The one relied on by claimant basically states that a party need not assert a counterclaim if it has not matured at the time of the pleading, even if it arises from the same transaction or occurrence. C.R.C.P. 13(a).
See 6 Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure 1411 (1990)(construing similar language in F.R.C.P. 13(a)); Jupiter Aluminum Corp. v. Home Insurance Co., 181 F.R.D. 605 (N.D. Ill. 1998).
The Colorado rule is almost identical to F.R.C.P. 13(a). If, as here, there is no controlling Colorado authority, we may look to federal precedent for guidance in construing the language of the Colorado rule. See Visual Factor, Inc. v. Sinclair, supra; McCabe v. United Bank of Boulder, 657 P.2d 976 (Colo. App. 1982).