"When the stakes in a case are high, it's one of a handful of top litigation firms that Denver lawyers know will be involved — and for good reason."
- Named partner of a competing firm
Denver (PRWEB) February 17, 2012
The litigation boutique Reilly Pozner has been selected to The National Law Journal’s inaugural Litigation Boutiques Hot List, an exclusive group of 10 firms in the country “that take second place to no one in courtroom skill.”
Reilly Pozner is one of those firms “important clients turn to for state-of-the-art advocacy in bet-the-company cases,” the Journal reported. “They also represent an avenue to practice high-end law on a more human scale than perhaps is offered by larger firms.”
With just under 30 lawyers, Reilly Pozner has roughly tripled in size since it was established it in 2000. Many of its lawyers are younger than 40 years old. All of its lawyers, except former state appellate court judge and partner Sean Connelly, are based in Denver. Connelly heads the firm's Washington office which opened last year. While an assistant United States attorney, Connelly was the lead appellate lawyer in the Oklahoma City bombing prosecutions. In all, the firm has served as lead counsel in more than 40 states.
In an interview with the Journal, co-founding partner Dan Reilly discussed prominent cases in which the firm has recently been involved, one of which many believe will wind up before the Colorado Supreme Court. He also talked about the firm’s mantra which devolves from the firm’s unique logo, a gargoyle. The mantra flowing from the medieval guardian is “Protect and Prevail”. However, co-founding partner Reilly points out the firm’s bold choice for branding itself hardly reflects a traditional approach to practice.
Reilly explained that from the beginning he and co-founding partner Larry Pozner wanted a firm that actively sought precedent-setting cases that carried a high likelihood of going to trial. The result has been recent cases involving constitutional law, products liability, business torts, wrongful death, government investigations, intellectual property and franchise disputes. All told, Reilly Pozner tallied several victories in Colorado trial and appellate courts in 2011, both at the state and federal levels, The Journal reported. It also cited the firm’s involvement in two national news making cases. One is the representation of AIG in the Southern District of New York against the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and Bank of America Corp. in the proposed $8.5 billion Bank of America subprime-mortgage securitization liability settlement. The second is as counsel for the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy estate. For Lehman the firm is prosecuting claims against mortgage loan originators and defending Lehman against claims over mortgage securitization.
Other specific cases the Journal cited in naming Reilly Pozner included the firm serving as the lead outside counsel in a groundbreaking case for the Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) concerning a new state law that lowered the cost-of-living increase retirees receive. The firm successfully defended PERA in state district court after the Colorado General Assembly passed a law in 2010 in response to a multibillion-dollar funding shortfall. Beneficiaries filed suit almost immediately to strike down the law, claiming they had a constitutional right to annual pension raises. In June, a Denver district court judge dismissed the suit. Reilly, the lead lawyer on the case, told The Journal the case is on appeal and has "all the markings" of one destined for the state Supreme Court.
Asked about Reilly Pozner, pension fund general counsel Gregory Smith was quoted by the Journal as saying the firm has "really talented people. I certainly couldn't get a job there.”
Other notable cases The Journal recently found in Colorado courts with Reilly Pozner at the helm included wins involving the False Claims Act, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations and class action certification.
“In the False Claims Act whistleblower case, the firm represented, on appeal, Bobby Maxwell, a Minerals Management Service auditor, who claimed Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corp. knowingly submitted false crude oil filings and underpaid the U.S. government by $7.5 million. The parties ultimately reached a $26 million settlement in December.
“In the OSHA case, the firm represented industrial painting company RPI Coatings Inc., which had been charged with regulation violations contributing to the deaths of five of its employees during a fire. Reilly Pozner in December 2011 negotiated a plea bargain that led to the dismissal of charges against RPI's president and vice president and lowered an OSHA fine from $845,100 to $100,000,” a case in which Pozner was lead counsel, The Journal reported. Another win involved a class action under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act where certification was overturned by the state Supreme Court.
Justus et a/. v. State of Colorado, eta/., Case No. 2010-cv-1589 (Denver County, Colorado District Court)
United States ex rei. Bobby L. Maxwell v. Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corp., Case No.
04-cv-01224-MSK-CBS (D. Colo.)
United States v. RPI Coating, Inc., Case No. 09-cr-00389 (D. Colo.)