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Legal Memorandum: Meaning of "Colorable" in VI

Issue: Under the laws of the U.S. Virgin Islands, what is meant by the term "colorable" when used to describe a defense?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Colorable; Arguable and nonfrivolous
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 924 F.2d 698; 48 F.3d 688; 164 Ariz. 323; 264 F. Supp. 2d 367; 793 P.2d 80
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2007

The term “colorable” generally means only that a claim or defense is “arguable and nonfrivolous, whether or not it can succeed on the merits.”  Davis v. Featherstone, 97 F.3d 734, 737-38 (4th Cir. 1996) TA l "Davis v. Featherstone, 97 F.3d 734, 737-38 (4th Cir. 1996)" s "Davis v. Featherstone, 97 F.3d 734, 737-38 (4th Cir. 1996)" c 2 .  It means that if the argument or allegations are accepted as true, one is entitled to certain relief or action.  See State v. Watton, 164 Ariz. 323, 793 P.2d 80, 85 (Ariz. 1990) TA l "State v. Watton, 164 Ariz. 323, 793 P.2d 80, 85 (Ariz. 1990)" s "State v. Watton, 164 Ariz. 323, 793 P.2d 80, 85 (Ariz. 1990)" c 2 .  To be “colorable” does not require that a claim or defense be substantial but rather that it have “some possible validity.”  Martinez-Rosas v. Gonzales, 424 F.3d 926, 930 (9th Cir. 2005) TA l "Martinez-Rosas v. Gonzales, 424 F.3d 926, 930 (9th Cir. 2005)" s "Martinez-Rosas v. Gonzales, 424 F.3d 926, 930 (9th Cir. 2005)" c 2 .  Others have defined the term “colorable” to mean merely that the claim or defense at issue is “not without some merit.”  Jensen v. Schweiker, 709 F.2d 1227, 1230 & n.2 (8th Cir. 1983) TA l "Jensen v. Schweiker, 709 F.2d 1227, 1230 & n.2 (8th Cir. 1983)" s "Jensen v. Schweiker, 709 F.2d 1227, 1230 & n.2 […]

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