Case Conclusion Date: October 21, 2013
Practice Area: Constitutional Law/Elections/Civil Rights
Outcome: Supreme Court agreed with our Client that Recall Section of Colorado Constitution violated United States Constitution.
Cite: 1013 CO 62
Description: 312 P.3d 153 Matt Ferguson represented the Libertarian Party of Colorado during the Senate Districts 3 and 11 recall elections of two State Senators – who were eventually recalled. Matt posed a question to the Colorado Secretary of State and the Attorney General concerning the [un]constitutionality of a prior participation requirement on the ballot. Based on our research and position, Governor John Hickenlooper then posed a rare and emergency Article VI, section 3, question to the Supreme Court, which has original jurisdiction over certain constitutional issues. The Supreme Court first accepted the Governor’s question -as posed by the this firm – because it was an important question specifically asking the Supreme Court whether a Colorado Constitutional provision governing the operation of recall elections conflicts with the U.S. Constitution. The posing and then acceptance of the interrogatory are in and of themselves very rare events.
Colorado’s high court then agreed with our client’s position and struck down the provision contained in Section 3 of Article XXI of the Colorado Constitution which required that, in the case of a recall election, the question of whether a particular incumbent should be recalled from office be on the same ballot as the list of replacements for that incumbent. Importantly, this section of the state constitution also required that, for a voter to be eligible to vote on who should replace the recalled incumbent, the voter must also vote on the question of whether the incumbent should be removed from office.
The Supreme Court held that this “prior participation requirement” unconstitutionally compelled voters to express a view on the question of whether or not to recall an elected official. The Colorado Supreme Court thus found that Article 21 § XXI of the Colorado Construction requiring that “no vote cast shall be counted for any candidate for such office, unless the voter also voted for or against a recall of such persons sought to recall from said office, conflicts with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
The Court held: “[T]he United States Supreme Court’s precedent (and common sense) make clear that virtually no regulation that compels voters to take a position can pass constitutional muster.” This was a fascinating piece of a larger elections and constitutional law case – and we could find no case on Colorado of this having occurred before.
Case Conclusion Date: May 11, 2012
Practice Area: Litigation/Construction defect
Outcome: Favorable settlement for plaintiff clients prior to trial
Description: Failure of lateral support caused by excavation on Aspen Mountain for major development. Represented homeowner plaintiffs in a case involving complex geotechnical issues.
Case Conclusion Date: June 1, 2011
Practice Area: Litigation
Outcome: Settled favorably, garnering reimbursement for 100% of client deposits — approx. $15.0 Million
Description: Represented 56 plaintiffs — contract buyers of fractional interest in the Viceroy Hotel, Snowmass Village. Developer had delivered units with smaller square footage. Won liability case on summary judgment motion and defendants were found liable under the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act. Deposits returned in full; and attorneys’ fees and interest awarded.
Case Conclusion Date: May 1, 2012
Practice Area: Foreclosure/Work out/Bankruptcy
Outcome: Successful receivership and foreclosure of a major Aspen development. Lender liability claims dismissed on motion; fees application to be pursued. Successful sale of asset.
Description: Series of actions by client bank against developer borrower on multi-million-dollar loan default. Case pursued successfully through receivership, bankruptcy, foreclosure and retaliatory lender liability claims.
Practice Area: Litigation/Contracts
Outcome: Favorable jury verdict for plaintiff clients for sales commissions and lost profits–$3.7 million, plus interest. Settled after verdict.
Description: Breach of contract and business tort case. Japanese manufacturer and U.S. distributor of radio-controlled cars breached sales representative contract. Tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Practice Area: Litigation
Outcome: Case settled favorably for fire victims; policy limits paid. Attempts to prove additional insurance also contributed to settlement environment.
Description: Wild fire caused by careless welders destroyed and damaged numerous homes and property. Represented most of the homeowners and recovered damages.
Practice Area: Aviation/Litigation/Terrorism
Outcome: Following plaintiffs’ liability verdict against Pan Am, achieved defense verdict on important conscious pain-and-suffering issue. The favorable verdict on the exemplary damage issue led to a fair settlement for all parties in this matter.
Description: Following plaintiffs’ verdict in connection with Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing case, successfully defended claims for conscious pain-and-suffering based on scientific and reconstructive evidence. Oversaw defense of all damages claims for Pan Am and insurers in various federal courts. Handled liability and terrorism aspects of case for main trial.
Practice Area: Litigation
Outcome: Jury verdict including damages for plaintiff clients in corporate dispute.
Description: Break-up of a real estate brokerage. Recovered for breaches of contract, civil theft, and misappropriation of trade secrets. $700,000 Verdict plus award of 95% of attorneys’ fees and all costs.
Case Conclusion Date: June 22, 2012
Practice Area: Foreclosure
Outcome: Reversed by Supreme Court; trial court upheld finding of no bid rigging
Description: Matt successfully argued for Colorado Supreme Court reversal of the Colorado Court of Appeals finding of bid rigging by attendees at a foreclosure sale in Pitkin County, Colorado. Matt won the case at the trial level proving that the members of an LLC, formed after the Public Trustee foreclosure sale by 3 bidders, had not bid rigged. Ferguson represented the LLC that was deemed by the Pitkin County Public Trustee to have been the successful high bidder at the 2007 foreclosure sale. The original property owner launched a series of challenges to the foreclosure sale against the Pitkin County Public Trustee, the foreclosing bank and Matt’s client. Matt defended all those proceedings in the Pitkin County District Court.