Colorado Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Aspen Alps 123, LLC in Antitrust Case Concerning Public Trustee Foreclosure Sale
On June 18, 2012, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its decision vindicating Aspen Alps 123, LLC in a lawsuit with state-wide impacts. The Supreme Court, by a 6-1 vote, reversed the Colorado Court of Appeals and reinstated the trial court’s judgment finding that Aspen Alps 123, LLC engaged in lawful joint bidding at a foreclosure sale conducted by the Pitkin County Public Trustee in February 2007. Matt Ferguson and Chris Bryan of the Colorado law firm Garfield & Hecht, P.C. tried the case and handled all appellate proceedings. Chris Bryan of Garfield & Hecht, P.C. continues to represent Aspen Alps 123, LLC in connection with the property purchased at the foreclosure sale.
The Supreme Court struck down the Court of Appeals’ erroneous ruling that Aspen Alps 123, LLC’s members participated in illegal bid rigging in violation of the Colorado Antitrust Act. The Supreme Court agreed with Garfield & Hecht, P.C’s appellate briefing and oral argument in holding that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Aspen Alps 123, LLC’s members violated state antitrust laws by pooling their resources to buy a condominium adjacent to Aspen Mountain at a public foreclosure sale. As the prevailing party, Aspen Alps 123, LLC was also awarded its appellate costs.
Aspen Alps 123, LLC won summary judgment on numerous issues in 2008, and judgment was entered in its favor following a 2008 trial on all remaining issues. Aspen Alps 123, LLC was vested with title to the real property on the basis that the members had individually engaged in competitive bidding—approximately $260,000.00 above the minimum bid—before the winning bid was tendered at $1.86 million. The highest bidder then agreed to form a limited liability company with the other two unsuccessful bidders and to share the costs and benefits of the property together under the aegis of Aspen Alps 123, LLC. The bidders, who had never met one another before the foreclosure sale, agreed to pool their resources and to buy the property jointly after the winning bid was made.
In 2010, however, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion stating that Aspen Alps 123, LLC’s members’ conduct constituted illegal bid rigging in violation of the Colorado Antitrust Act (C.R.S. § 6-4-114). The Supreme Court granted certiorari on that issue and, after extensive briefing and oral argument, issued its decision vindicating Aspen Alps 123, LLC of any wrongdoing and finding that joint bidding is expressly permitted under Colorado law.
Garfield & Hecht, P.C. attorneys successfully quieted title in Aspen Alps 123, LLC in litigation with far-reaching consequences for bidders at foreclosure sales and other public auctions. Those wishing to read the Supreme Court’s decision in this case are referred to Amos v. Aspen Alps 123, LLC, 280 P.3d 1256 (Colo. 2012).
Garfield & Hecht, P.C. attorneys try cases and prosecute appeals throughout the state and federal courts of Colorado and handle a wide array of cases. Inquires about this case, trial practice, appeals, or other legal disputes may be made to Garfield & Hecht, P.C. attorney Chris Bryan (e-mail: ).