Recent Successes

Colin Campbell

Trial: Buck v Salzman, El Paso District Court. February 3 -6, 2014

Our client, Mr. Salzman caused an accident while having an epileptic seizure. He had a 20 year history of occasional seizures, and had caused another accident during a seizure several years before. His treating neurologist had cleared him to drive, but his prior neurologist, of the same neurologic practice group, testified at trial that he should not have been driving. Plaintiff’s car was flipped over onto its roof by impact. Plaintiff was a young woman in her mid twenties, complaining of persistent low back pain due to nonsurgical bulging disc. Pre- trial demand of $249,000, and had offered $40,000 (with indication to mediator during mediation of willingness to go to $60,000). The jury found in plaintiff’s favor, finding that Salzman assumed the risk of liability by continuing to drive after first seizure-caused auto accident. The jury awarded $70,000 in damages.

Trial: Samuels v Potter, Pitkin County District Court December 2015

Bifurcated liability trial held December 7 through 18, 2015. Lawsuit was brought by 9 passengers of a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus which lost control and overturned after swerving to avoid a slow moving farm tractor travelling at dusk on highway 82 near Carbondale. The three defendants at trial were the bus driver, the operator of the tractor, and our client, who owned the tractor and had loaned it to his friend who was driving the tractor down the highway. The passengers alleged our client to have been negligent in failing to detect that the slow moving vehicle emblem had become displaced and was missing at the time he loaned out the tractor. The jury allocated 50% liability to the bus driver, 45% liability to the operator of the tractor, and 5% to our client.

Court of Appeals: Laughman v Girtakovskis October 2015

The Plaintiff sued to recover for personal injuries sustained during a martial arts sparring match, which injury occurred when our client unintentionally struck the Plaintiff in the face. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in our client’s favor, upon grounds that a participant in a physical sporting event does not owe a duty of reasonable care to protect other participants from physical harm. This is the first reported Colorado appellate decision to clarify that one participant in a sporting event cannot sue another for negligence.

Trial:  White v. Conklin, Mesa County Dist. Ct., September and October, 2013

Personal injury lawsuit brought by state trooper who was struck by our client on a dark rural state highway outside Grand Junction, Colorado. Plaintiff was standing in a painted median on the roadway while he completed a diagram of a prior accident. Our client slowed and moved over to the left to give wider berth to emergency vehicles, parked along road to her right, and did not see the Plaintiff standing in her path until he was illuminated by her headlights. Plaintiff suffered a head injury, broken shoulder blade, multiple rib fractures and pulmonary embolism, and took early retirement from the state patrol 11 months later. The jury came back with a defense verdict, finding that our client was not negligent.

Court of Appeals: Rieger v. Wat Buddhawararam of Denver, November 2013

The Plaintiff suffered a broken leg when a large tree branch fell while Plaintiff was assisting other members of a volunteer work crew to trim a large elm tree at a Denver Buddhist temple. The Trial court had granted summary judgment in favor of our client Buddhist Temple upon grounds that there was no premises liability for a risk of which the plaintiff was admittedly aware, and the Temple was not vicariously liable for the alleged negligence of the fellow volunteer who was trimming the branch from above with a chain saw when the branch fell. The Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment in the Temple’s favor, with an extended discussion confirming the absence of vicarious liability under the circumstances presented.

Clif Latiolais

Trial: Ewing v. Scott, Larimer County Dist. Ct., July 2013.

Personal injury lawsuit arising out of a highway rear-end automobile accident. Plaintiff claimed cervical, thoracic and shoulder injuries, and permanent debilitating injuries to her lumbar spine. Client admitted negligence in connection with the accident, but challenged the nature, extent and cause of Plaintiff’s claimed injuries and losses. Our client offered $35,000. At trial, Plaintiff sought $75,000 for past and future medical expenses, permanent disability and non-economic losses. The jury returned a verdict of $4,000.

Trial: Schimmel v. Kluge Brothers,Teller County Dist. Ct., September 2013.

Property damage lawsuit filed by a homeowner claiming damage to his in-floor radiant heat system as a result of negligent carpet installation by client flooring company. Our client admitted negligence in connection with the nailing of tack strips that punctured the heat tubes, but alleged comparative negligence in homeowner’s failure to advise of the radiant heat system. Plaintiff sought $80,000 in damages. Our client offered $20,000 to settle. The jury determined that damages were only $1,700, but apportioned 80% negligence to Plaintiff, thus barring recovery and resulting in the entry of a defense verdict.

Court of Appeals: Glowan v. Marion, October 2013.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s denial of Plaintiff’s motions to set aside the verdict and for new trial on liability and damages. The underlying case involved a high speed automobile accident in a residential neighborhood which rendered Plaintiff unconscious for 20 minutes. Plaintiff sought compensatory damages for numerous physical and psychological injuries, including permanent brain injuries, $80,000 in past medical expenses, additional amounts for future medical expenses and permanent disability and impairment. Plaintiff also sought punitive damages for Defendant’s driving 75 mph in a 35 mph zone. Our client admitted negligence, alleged comparative negligence, disputed punitive damages and challenged the nature, extent and cause of Plaintiff’s injuries and losses. Pre-trial, Plaintiff rejected Defendant’s policy limits offer of $250,000. Plaintiff requested $1,200,000 at trial. The jury apportioned 25% negligence to the Plaintiff, rejected Plaintiff’s punitive damages claim and permanent disability claim, and awarded $10,226 for economic and non-economic damages. The Court of Appeals rejected Plaintiff’s arguments that the jury verdict was grossly and manifestly inadequate, influenced by prejudice and other improper considerations, and contrary to the undisputed evidence.

Trial: Sanders v American Family, Welsh and Welsh Agency, Boulder Dist. Ct., April 2014

Bad faith lawsuit filed by homeowners who, after losing their home to the Fourmile Canyon Fire in Boulder County, claimed they were underinsured and unable to replace their property. Plaintiffs sued their agent and her agency, alleging negligence in placing coverage, and seeking reformation to increase the policy limits. They sued their insurer for common law bad faith, statutory bad faith, and equitable reformation. Damages sought were approximately $2,000,000. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the agent and her agency on all claims, and in favor of the insurer on all claims except one – failure to follow company policies concerning reformation. The total jury verdict was $100,000.    

David Murphy

Trial: Hawkins, et al. v. Vista Ridge Development Corporation, et al., August 2015

We tried the case for two weeks, to a jury, in Weld County District Court, before the Honorable Julie Hoskins. The case began with 21 families living in the Erie Airpark neighborhood suing the builder, developer and subsequent owners of a golf course formerly known as the Vista Ridge Golf Course. We represented the entity that built the course, and then owned and operated it for the first few years of its operation. The principal allegation was that the watering activities at the golf course allowed water to reach the plaintiffs’ neighborhood and wet the expansive soils beneath their homes. Three families were dismissed early in the case. The remaining 18 families sought in excess of $10 million in damages. One of those remaining families was dismissed shortly before trial, and 3 more families settled their claims at mediation, leaving 14 families at the time of trial. The matter was set for 5 weeks. The plaintiffs presented their case during the first two weeks. At the conclusion of their case, we moved for a directed verdict, arguing that the plaintiffs had failed to present sufficient evidence to prove their claims. The trial court agreed, and dismissed the case.

Robyn Averbach

Trial: Morales v. Koren, Denver District Court, April, 2013

Personal injury lawsuit brought by a 34 year old landscaper who was t-boned on his way to work in the morning when our client, who was DUI, ran a red light. Plaintiff brought claims for neck and back injuries and a myocardial infarction (heart attack) that occurred 6 weeks after the accident, claiming it was caused by a contusion on his chest from striking the steering wheel (he was unrestrained.) Plaintiff also brought punitive damage claims for driving under the influence. Plaintiff's medical expenses totaled $170,000 with $50,000 of that related to his neck and back injuries. We filed a statutory offer of settlement of $200,000 prior to trial. At trial we disputed causation for the heart attack and admitted to driving under the influence and for causing the neck and back injuries. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff in the amount $54,000 and awarded zero dollars in punitive damages.

Trial: Aikens v. Mays & Hoover, Jefferson County District Court, March 2014

Plaintiff claimed our clients trespassed on his land and cut down 13 trees. Plaintiff brought claims for trespass, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful prosecution based on his arrest for allegedly assaulting one of the Defendants. Our clients admitted to trespass and to cutting down three trees on his property and denied all other claims. Plaintiff claimed it would cost $3000 to replace each tree. Plaintiff's last settlement demand before trial was for $75,000. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for $9,000 for the cut trees (awarding for only the three trees our clients admitted to cutting) and for $7,500 against each Defendant for the wrongful prosecution claim.

Trial: Morales v. Koren, Denver County Dist. Ct., April, 2013

Personal injury lawsuit brought by a 34 year old landscaper who was t-boned on his way to work in the morning when our client, who was intoxicated, ran a red light. Plaintiff brought claims for neck and back injuries and a heart attack that occurred six weeks after the accident, claiming it was caused by a contusion on his chest from striking the steering wheel. Plaintiff also brought punitive damage claims for driving under the influence. Plaintiff's medical expenses totaled $170,000 with $50,000 of that related to his neck and back injuries. The client filed a statutory offer of settlement of $200,000 prior to trial. At trial we disputed causation for the heart attack and admitted to driving under the influence and for causing the neck and back injuries. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff in the amount $54,000 and awarded zero dollars in punitive damages.

Trial: Aikens v. Mays & Hoover, Jefferson County Dist. Ct., March 2014

Plaintiff claimed our clients trespassed on his land and cut down 13 trees. Plaintiff brought claims for trespass, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful prosecution based on his arrest for allegedly assaulting one of our clients. Our clients admitted to trespass and to cutting down three trees on his property and denied all other claims. Plaintiff claimed it would cost $3,000 to replace each tree. Plaintiff's last settlement demand before trial was for $75,000. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for $9,000 for the cut trees (awarding for only the three trees our clients admitted to cutting) and for $7,500 against each client for the wrongful prosecution claim.

Rebecca Wagner

Trial: Schreiner v. Allstate, Boulder County District Court, November 2015.

Bad faith lawsuit filed by insured who claimed significant neck injuries following a motor vehicle accident in Boulder, Colorado. The plaintiff sued her insurer for UIM benefits, common law bad faith and statutory bad faith. Damages sought were in excess of $1,500,000. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the insurer on the common law and statutory claims and awarded the plaintiff compensation for her neck injury in an amount well below policy limits. Additionally, in post-trial briefing, the Court found that the insurer was the prevailing party on the common law and statutory bad faith allegations and as such, the insurer was awarded its costs for defense of the bad faith claims.

Trial: Quintana v. Huntoon, Boulder County Dist. Ct., November, 2013.

Personal injury lawsuit arising out of a 30 mph T-bone automobile accident. Plaintiff was a 14 year old girl at the time of the accident, claiming soft tissue neck and back injuries, fractured nose, deviated septum, diminished sense of smell and taste, and a permanent auditory processing disorder. Our client admitted fault for the accident, and admitted the accident caused the soft tissue injuries, but disputed the nature, extent and cause of the remaining injuries. Plaintiff demanded policy limits of $50,000 before trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $8,900.  

Trial: Spendrup v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, Federal Dist. Ct., May 2014

Wrongful death lawsuit and bad faith claims arising out of a T-bone automobile accident resulting in the death of the Plaintiff’s husband.  The decedent owned a niche business designing and producing manufacturing fans for mining activities locally and internationally.  Plaintiff claimed that as a result of her husband’s death, the business folded, resulting in a 7.3 million dollar loss.  Prior to trial, we filed a successful motion for summary judgment and the bad faith claims against our client were dismissed.  Thereafter, the Plaintiff demanded $3.7 million to settle.  The demand was rejected, and the parties proceeded to trial.  Following a five-day jury trial, Plaintiff requested the full $7.3 million dollars in closing.  While our client acknowledged the economic losses were approximately $1.5 million, we argued that the business losses claimed by the Plaintiff were excessive and unsupported by the evidence.  The jury returned a verdict awarding the Plaintiff a net recovery of $1.4 million.

Mike Frazier

Trial: Stone, et. al., v. Hi Country Haus Condo. Assn., Grand County Dist. Ct., June 2013

Plaintiffs were condominium owners in Winter Park, Colorado, who sought reimbursement of 10 years of dues from the Travelers Insured, Hi Country Haus Condo Association. The Plaintiffs alleged the Association did not have the authority to collect dues from 12 of the 20 building owners for various services, including a recreational facility. They alleged breaches of contract and fiduciary duty, negligence, and multiple violations of the Colorado Common Ownership Interest Act (CCOIA). The Plaintiffs sought monetary damages, an injunction, and reimbursement of over $300,000 in past dues to dozens of unit owners, and attorney fees and costs of approximately $100,000. After a seven day trial, our client received a defense verdict on all of the Plaintiffs’ claims, and the Association was awarded fees and costs as a prevailing party under (CCIOA).

Trial: Bruce Roff v. Scott Contracting, et al., Park County Dist. Ct., March 2014

Personal Injury Lawsuit arising out of trucking accident.   Mike Frazier tried this case with Mike Wathen of Ray Lego and Associates. The Plaintiff claimed the Travelers Insured was negligent, because it failed to re-install a steep grade warning sign at the top of Crow Hill, just east of Bailey, Colorado. The Plaintiff lost control of his semi-truck, and it rolled over and into a nearby creek. The Plaintiff claimed he injured his low back, which would require a fusion surgery. He claimed he suffered from debilitating peripheral neuropathy in both legs, and the accident caused him to suffer a massive pulmonary embolism. The Plaintiff’s last written settlement offer was a global demand of $600,000 to both defendants and asked for over $1M in closing. The jury returned a defense verdict, finding no negligence, causation, or damages.

Colorado Supreme Court: Legros v. Robinsons, May 2014. 

This a personal injury case that arises out a dog bite incident that occurred in June 2008. The Plaintiff’s file claims for negligence and strict liability pursuant to the Dog Bite Statute against Travelers’ Insured, the Robinsons. All of the Plaintiffs claims were dismissed in the District Court. The Appellate Court reversed the District Court’s opinion, in part. It affirmed the dismissal of the negligence claim and the Court’s Order denying the existence of a settlement, but the Appellate Court reversed District Court’s opinion regarding the application of the Dog Bite Statute. The Supreme Court held the Appellate Court had erred when construing and applying the Dog Bite Statute; however, it remanded the case back to District Court for further evaluation of the application of the Dog Bite Statute.