Truth Test: Distorting Carroll's votes

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman hopes his latest television ad convinces voters his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Morgan Carroll, can’t be trusted.

KUSA – Republican Rep. Mike Coffman hopes his latest television ad convinces voters his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Morgan Carroll, can’t be trusted.

The four-term incumbent’s 30-second spot claims Carroll – who works a personal injury lawyer at Bachus & Shanker -- pushed bills “making it easier to sue doctors, small businesses, even nurses.”

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Accusing a lawmaker of pushing legislation to line her own pockets is a serious claim, and the Coffman campaign doesn’t have the facts to back it up.

CLAIM: Carroll made it easier to sue doctors and nurses

VERDICT: False

Carroll actually voted for a bill to make it harder to sue medical professionals who stop to volunteer help in an emergency.

For example, if a pharmacist or nurse saw a car crash on her way home from work, she could stop and provide emergency care without having to worry about whether the person might sue her if something went wrong.

To support this claim, the Coffman campaign is pointing to Carroll’s vote against an earlier draft of the same good Samaritan bill in a committee hearing February 2006.

Carroll did vote against the bill in committee, but she voted for it when it came to the House floor.

Her spokesman Drew Godinich told 9NEWS she voted against the bill in committee because it had no protections for people if a doctor or nurse did something outrageous or grossly negligent.

Once the bill was amended, Carroll threw her support behind it.

Using the committee vote when Caroll voted for the final version of the bill makes Coffman’s claim deceitful.

CLAIM: Carroll made it easier to sue small businesses

VERDICT: Needs context

In 2013, Carroll worked on a bill to let people collect money if they proved their employer discriminated against them.

The law didn’t make it easier to sue your employer. It made it possible to be awarded money damages from companies who were found guilty.

Here’s what changed.

Colorado law didn’t permit someone who won a discrimination case before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission or successfully sued in court to ask for attorney fees or punitive damages.

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Federal antidiscrimination laws let plaintiffs sue for these things, but those laws didn’t apply people who were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or whose employer had less than 15 employees.

Carroll was called out for pushing this bill by a right-wing website because her law firm handles discrimination cases, and the Coffman campaign cited this in its ad.

We found no records of ethics complaints or investigations against Carroll for this vote or any other she took as a state lawmaker.

BOTTOM LINE: The ad wants you believe Carroll misused her position as a state senator to benefit herself and her employer. But the ad uses bogus facts to back up its claim – suggesting the Coffman campaign doesn’t actually have a case.