Dispute over legal fees looms in Sunshine Law suit against Pagosa Springs

The Pagosa Springs Sun: The Town of Pagosa Springs is disputing the reasonableness of local attorney Matt Roane’s fees in a suit that resulted in the finding that the town violated the Colorado Open Meetings (Sunshine) Law a year ago.

A brief filed on Sept. 19 in Archuleta County District Court on behalf of the town by Denver attorney Steven J. Dawes contends that although Roane’s charges per hour are reasonable, he devoted more time to the suit than needed. Roane’s total legal fees are reported as $34,400 in a petition he presented to the Court on Aug. 30.

Roane represented local resident Bill Hudson in the suit. Hudson contended that the town illegally permitted representatives of Springs Partners LLC, a “contract adversary,” to participate in an executive session on Sept. 17, 2015.

The town contended that the session was convened under a part of the Sunshine Law exempting planning and preparation for negotiations from the broad mandate for public meetings. But the suit resulted in a finding by Judge Gregory G. Lyman last month that the town violated the law by inviting attendance of the Partners and conducting actual negotiations in the private session.

Lyman ordered the town on Aug. 8 to release for public inspection a tape recording made of the private session. The town complied with the order on Aug. 19, after the Town Council decided not to appeal the ruling at its meeting a day earlier.

Visit The Pagosa Springs Sun for more.

Subscribe to Our Blog