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City of Durango News Flash

Posted on: December 7, 2023

Court rules attorney fees sought in Simpson case against the city "not reasonable"

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Durango, CO: La Plata County District Court ruled Wednesday that John Simpson, through his attorney Matt Roane, overstated the amount of research hours in a lawsuit against the City of Durango regarding unaudited financial statements.

The court ruled to cut requested attorney fees from $29,465 to$17,115, a 41% reduction in requested fees based on 38 hours not allowed by the court. The ruling was based in part on Roane’s recorded research time as “overstated considering the expertise of the Plaintiff’s attorney” according to the District Court Judge Suzanne Carlson. The court also ruled that “the hours needed by Plaintiff to prepare and attend the hearing on attorney fees are overstated” and “not reasonable.”

Simpson won an initial court ruling seeking unaudited annual financial information from the city. The case is being appealed. “The judge ruled that Simpson and Roane were trying to overcharge at taxpayer expense,” said City Attorney Mark Morgan. “If the city is successful in the appeal, which is set for January, no attorney fees will be owed.”

The court says in its ruling that Roane, “has been involved as the attorney in numerous similar lawsuits in the past …The number of hours needed for research and briefing should be relatively similar for each party and the Defendant attorney’s research hours more accurately reflect the hours required in the case.” This ruling comes a month after the city issued a letter asking Simpson to cease and desist harassment of the city and its employees. In the letter Morgan notes that Simpson has made more than 50 allegations against city officials and city practices, all of which have been investigated and found to be meritless or false. Morgan also notes that roughly 30% of the city’s legal department’s time is spent investigating and responding to Simpson’s accusations.

For the latest information on the city’s financial statements, including the latest data by month , go to city’s financial transparency portal.

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Phone: (970) 375-5090


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