Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Garfield & Hecht, P.C. Bank Client
Chris Bryan of the Colorado law firm of Garfield & Hecht, P.C. and co-counsel at Sidley Austin LLP in Los Angeles did on November 14, 2013, obtain a favorable ruling from Colorado Court of Appeals in favor of an international bank client. The Court of Appeals entered a unanimous Opinion affirming the Pitkin County District Court’s order of dismissal of a lender-liability and fraud suit concerning the Dancing Bear development in Aspen, Colorado. The Dancing Bear is a highly desirable luxury residential development in downtown Aspen consisting of fractional ownership units and high-end amenities. The current owner of the Dancing Bear project is separate and distinct from any of the parties to the litigation. This appellate victory brings an end to more than four years of litigation concerning the Dancing Bear development in Aspen, Colorado. The litigation has included proceedings before the Pitkin County District Court in Aspen, the Colorado Court of Appeals in Denver, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado in Denver. In every single forum, the borrowers’ claims were rejected, and the client, WestLB AG, New York Branch (now known as Portigon AG), prevailed.
History of the Case
The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s ruling that borrowers of approximately $60 million could not maintain a lawsuit against Garfield & Hecht, P.C.’s client, WestLB, which was the lending bank. Applying Colorado procedural law and New York substantive law, both the trial court and the appellate court concluded that WestLB was not liable to the borrowers on the borrowers’ claims that WestLB was obligated to loan additional sums to the borrowers. The borrowers sued on theories of fraud, duress, coercion, or breach of oral modification. Those claims were determined to be invalid because, among other reasons, the borrowers’ claims were expressly contradicted by written agreements entered into by the borrowers.
The appeals court also awarded the lending bank its costs and attorneys’ fees incurred on appeal. The Court of Appeals did not disturb the trial court’s earlier award to WestLB of $18,822.08 in costs and $388,726.70 in attorneys’ fees incurred in the trial court proceedings. The case has been remanded to the trial court for purposes of determining the amount of costs and attorneys’ fees to be awarded to WestLB and to conclude the proceedings.
A copy of the appellate opinion is here .
Garfield & Hecht, P.C. lawyers try cases and prosecute appeals throughout the state and federal courts of Colorado and handle a wide array of matters, including banking litigation on behalf of both lenders and borrowers, and corporate bankruptcy litigation. Inquires about this case, trial practice, appeals, corporate bankruptcy, or other legal disputes may be made to Garfield & Hecht, P.C. attorney Chris Bryan (e-mail: ).