Judge hears attorney fee arguments in open-records case

From the Aspen Daily News:  A judge will decide in the coming months if the city of Aspen should pay a local woman’s attorneys nearly $350,000 for their work in an open-records lawsuit or whether that amount is, as the city contends, “outrageous.”

Chief Judge James Boyd of the 9th Judicial District on Friday heard arguments from City Attorney Jim True and the Denver attorneys for Marilyn Marks, Robert McGuire and Jeffrey Bains.

After losing the mayoral election to former Mayor Mick Ireland in 2009, Marks filed a lawsuit that sought, under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), the release of digital copies of ballots that were cast. City officials contended that releasing the ballots would violate Colorado law, which protects voter anonymity, and Boyd ruled in the municipality’s favor in 2010.

Marks prevailed in 2011, when the Colorado Court of Appeals overturned Boyd. The state Supreme Court subsequently declined to hear the city’s appeal, and city officials released ballot images last year.

Court filings show that Marks’ attorneys claim they worked on the case, at the district, appellate and supreme court levels, for 739 hours, at rates that ranged from $225 to $450 an hour. With interest, they say they are currently owed roughly $344,000, an amount that includes their work in Friday’s hearing.

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