Fountain Creek: Colorado Springs is seeking to recover legal fees from Pueblo County resulting from lawsuit over sewage spills

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A motion filed late last week in the Denver U.S. District Court asks for consideration of payment of legal fees, even though Colorado Springs agreed to pay $17,750 of the Sierra Club’s fees after U.S. District Judge Walker Miller ruled in the Sierra Club’s favor on some points. Colorado Springs was fined $35,000. The settlement with the Sierra Club left open the possibility of Colorado Springs seeking to recover its costs for [Pueblo District Attorney Bill Thiebaut]’s portion of the lawsuit. Thiebaut, along with the Sierra Club, filed the federal lawsuit in 2005 after sewage spills into Fountain Creek. Thiebaut’s lawsuit was thrown out in 2007, and his motion for reconsideration was denied in early 2008.

“Thiebaut’s legal theory for his authority and standing here was baseless and without foundation, and he continued to pursue his case long after it should have been clear that he lacked authority to do so,” attorney John Walsh wrote in the latest motion. Walsh argued that as a district attorney, Thiebaut could not file a civil suit in federal court and was not authorized by the legislature to do so. “Thiebaut never did identify the specific legal basis for his alleged authority,” Walsh wrote in the motion. “Instead, rather than rely on legal authority, Thiebaut continued to rely on a baseless interpretation of his own (nearly limitless) authority, calculated to justify the action he wanted to take.” Walsh claims Colorado Springs prevailed in its motion to remove Thiebaut from the case and is therefore entitled to recovery of expenses…

“In my opinion our case was a better case, which would have resulted in an even better order,” Thiebaut said. “Nevertheless, Colorado Springs has undertaken new programs to eliminate spills as a direct result of our lawsuit.” Last week’s motion moves in the opposite direction of recent actions by Colorado Springs, Thiebaut said. “This request is rather ironic considering that Colorado Springs continues to note that now it wants to cooperate with Pueblo on projects like Fountain Creek and the Southern Delivery System,” Thiebaut said.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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