Haddon, Morgan & Foreman is thrilled to announce on behalf of their client, Michael F. Valdez, that partners Laura A. Menninger and Jeffrey S. Pagliuca recently secured a $2.5 million victory against the City of Denver and Denver Police Sergeant Robert Motyka, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, the Hon. William J. Martinez presiding.
After 6 ½ years of litigation, and nine days of testimony and deliberation, the jury found in favor of Mr. Valdez on both of his Section 1983 claims --- excessive force against Sgt. Motyka and failure by the Denver Police Department to adequately train its officers in the appropriate use of deadly force. The evidence conclusively established that in January 2013, Sgt. Motyka shot Mr. Valdez – in the back – while he was unarmed and presented no danger to the officers or community. Motyka shot at least 12 bullets at the unarmed Valdez after he emerged from the wreckage of a car crash with his hands in the air and lay prone on the ground. Bullet strikes on a nearby tree proved that the 6' 6" Motyka fired shots that hit approximately 1-2 feet downward towards the prone Valdez. The jury was unpersuaded by Sgt. Motyka's shifting story; originally Motyka told his superiors that he never saw a gun, but over the years, his story morphed to claims that Valdez had a gun and was aiming it at a nearby park. Motyka has been the subject of a prior civil lawsuit and punitive damages award by a federal jury, but Denver has allowed him to continue on the force, even awarding him a medal for his "heroics" in shooting the unarmed Valdez.
Menninger and Pagliuca also resoundingly proved the Monell claim against the City of Denver, a rare victory and one certain to establish a precedent that the Denver Police Department needs to take seriously its obligation to properly prepare its officers to use deadly force only in appropriate circumstances. The jury awarded $2.4 million against Denver alone based on its deficient training to officers using lethal force in situations that cause them high stress, adrenaline, or anger. The evidence showed that DPD white-washed its investigation of Motyka's shooting, failing to demand an explanation for why he would shoot an unarmed civilian and failing to link the 12 bullets fired at Valdez with any probable cause.
The firm battled Motyka and Denver over 6 ½ years of hard-fought litigation, including multiple trips to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the last time an appeal deemed "frivolous" by Judge Martinez. Menninger and Pagliuca were supported at trial by senior paralegal Ann Lundberg and paralegal Nicole Simmons. HMF is proud of our efforts on behalf of Mr. Valdez and others like him who have been mistreated by law enforcement and victimized by those who swore to "protect and serve" our citizens.
Jeff Pagliuca and Pamela Mackey secured an acquittal on two counts of alleged sexual assault against Tony Cercy in 2018. The jury hung on a third count which was retried in November 2018. In the second trial, the court refused multiple tendered instructions drafted to avoid a violation of the bar against Double Jeopardy in both the Wyoming and United States Constitutions. The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled on December 27, 2019, that the court erroneously refused the tendered instructions. The case was reversed and remanded.
Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, P.C., announced that six of its attorneys were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2020 (Copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC), including two “Lawyer of the Year Awards.”
The attorneys selected and the fields they were selected in are as follows:
Haddon, Morgan and Foreman announced that it received six Tier 1 rankings in 2020 US News & World Report Law Firms. Tier 1 status was awarded for the following six categories: Criminal Defense – White Collar; Criminal Defense – General Practice; Bet-the-Company Litigation; Litigation-Securities; Commercial Litigation and Appellate Practice.
Once again, Chambers USA has named Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, PC as only one of two Band 1 law firms in Colorado for Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations in Colorado. Chambers USA continues to name Hal Haddon as a Senior Statesperson and Pamela Mackey and Saskia Jordan as Band 1 and Band 2 respectively for lawyers in the same category. Jeff Pagliuca was also ranked in the category of Commercial Litigation.
Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, P.C. has an immediate opening for a civil litigation associate attorney with 2-5 years of experience. Excellent academic credentials, civil litigation experience (with a strong preference for Colorado experience), and demonstrated research and writing skills are required. Pay is competitive with larger preeminent law firms in the Denver market. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Laura Menninger at LMenninger@HMFLaw.com.
HMF is only accepting direct applicant submissions at this time.
Ty Gee, in February 2019 secured a $4.5 million verdict on behalf of a prominent Denver trial attorney, whose former law firm refused to honor a contract to pay him attorney fees. The law firm was represented by one of the largest firms in Denver.
Saskia Jordan and Pamela Mackey successfully defended former Delta Petroleum Corporation CEO Roger Parker against claims of insider trading in Delta Petroleum stock. On December 6, 2017 a jury in Federal District Court in Denver found in Mr. Parker’s favor and against the SEC on all three theories of insider trading brought by the SEC in support of its claim against Mr. Parker.
Saskia Jordan and Laura Menninger successfully defended NHL Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov against his former girlfriend’s claims of assault and battery. On February 2, 2016, a Denver jury rejected Plaintiff’s civil claims and found in Mr. Varlamov’s favor on his counterclaim for abuse of process based on Plaintiff’s improper pursuit of a criminal assault charge against Mr. Varlamov. Jordan and Menninger previously represented Mr. Varlamov on the criminal assault charge which was dismissed prior to trial by the Denver District Attorney’s Office. The civil jury found that Plaintiff must pay for the costs Mr. Varlamov incurred in defending against the dismissed criminal case.