"A dominant litigation boutique
celebrated for its talent in civil trials."
In 2019, Chambers USA ranked Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell in Band 1 in Colorado for general commercial litigation. Only one other firm ranked as highly. Chambers further recognized eight WTO lawyers for Colorado commercial litigation—twice as many as the next closest firms in the state. These distinctions set WTO apart, and the cases below demonstrate why clients trust us to handle their complex commercial litigation.
WTO helps companies, entrepreneurs, developers, investors, bankers and other financial professionals, and directors and officers resolve legal disputes through litigation and other dispute resolution methods.
We have represented clients from a variety of industries in contract, fraud, warranty, securities, trade secrets, antitrust, insurance, and liability matters.
Our lawyers have comprehensive experience in federal and state courts, multidistrict litigation, class actions, bankruptcy courts, administrative proceedings, and civil arbitration.
- Won a trial verdict in Colorado District Court as co-counsel for a large financial services provider in a $75 million dispute over the company's allegedly excessive fees.
- United Power, Inc. et al. v. Tri-State Generation & Transmission Ass'n. Inc., No. 19F-0521E (Colo. Public Utilities Commission) - Won a $1.25 billion exit fee dispute for an electric distributor against its generation and transmission provider. The groundbreaking decision followed one of the first remote trials in the nation in the COVID-19 era.
- Represented a commercial property management company in a real estate dispute involving a marijuana growing facility. The seven-day trial began in March, 2020, was interrupted by the pandemic, and concluded remotely in July, 2020. Decision pending.
- Facilitated a rural electric cooperative's withdrawal from membership in a wholesale cooperative. WTO's client achieved settlement for hundreds of millions of dollars below the wholesaler's demand and can now acquire substantially cheaper and renewable green energy sources for its members.
- Obtained preliminary injunction for a television provider against a large Middle Eastern media company that violated an exclusive distribution agreement.
- IBM Corp. v. City of Golden, et.al. (Colo. App. 2020) - Won affirmance in the Colorado Court of Appeals for IBM Corp. of WTO's trial victory in a $6.1 million municipal tax dispute.
- Won complete victory for Hillsdale College in a closely watched dispute against the University of Missouri over the misuse of a deceased alumnus's $5 million donation.
- Won a second unanimous jury verdict for a leading auto-parts manufacturer in an 11-year-old breach of contract dispute in federal court in Kentucky. Due to the results of a prior appeal, WTO's client held the burden of proof on key issues in the trial.
- Won a trial in El Paso County District Court for two estate creditors accused of colluding with an estate representative to defraud the primary beneficiary. The presiding judge entered judgment for WTO's clients, concluding that the plaintiff had failed to prove virtually every necessary element of her claims.
- Successfully represented a global industrial gas company in defense of a competitor's application for preliminary and mandatory injunctive relief, ultimately facilitating resolution of a dispute valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars on highly favorable terms.
- Won summary judgment for Crestone Peak Resources against Boulder County in a case involving an attempt to invalidate a key oil and gas lease that would have materially impacted Crestone's $600 million investment, thereby clearing a major hurdle to significant future development.
- Won a defense verdict as co-counsel to defeat claims that WTO's oil and gas client owed $400 million to a stakeholder.
- Successfully represented Aimco, one of the largest apartment owners in the U.S., in nationwide litigation alleging intentional torts against Airbnb. After jury selection in the first trial, Airbnb settled all litigation on terms allowing Aimco to control short-term rental activity consistent with its contract and property rights. The closely watched litigation is changing how the short-term rental industry operates.
- Won a defense verdict as co-counsel to defeat $800 million claims in a bet-the-company shareholder dispute involving an oil and gas client.
- Won a pair of rare, permanent injunctions against a major distributor that infringed on WTO's client's exclusive distribution territory. The ongoing litigation involves bet-the-company stakes and may have far-reaching repercussions in the industry.
- Defeated a preliminary injunction brought by a former investment executive who sued to nullify a noncompete and launch a competing firm by taking 50 clients representing $200 million in investments. Collaborating with another law firm, WTO showed in a two-day, federal court hearing that the former executive did not meet the requirements for injunctive relief. The Court agreed and denied the motion.
- Won summary judgment in arbitration for a nation-leading telecom provider in an indemnification dispute with a former subcontractor whose employee filed a class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York. Though the plaintiff was one classmember among thousands, WTO demonstrated that the subcontractor was liable to indemnify WTO's client for all of its attorneys' fees related to the class action and a pro rata share of the resulting settlement. WTO's client won $1.5 million, plus attorney fees.
- IBM Corp. v. City of Golden, et al. (Denver Cnty. Ct. 2018) - Won a trial verdict for IBM as plaintiff in a $6.1 million tax dispute against the City of Golden involving sales and use taxes assessed over a seven-year span.
- Won an arbitration involving a $50 million claim brought by a joint venture partner against WTO's oil and gas company client.
- FCA v. Spitzer Autoworld Akron, 17-1161 (6th Cir. 2018) - Argued and won for FCA (fka Chrysler) in the Sixth Circuit in a case involving the question of whether federal legislation enacted following the Chrysler bankruptcy preempted Ohio state dealer laws.
- Star Funding v. Tire Centers, et al., 17-1074 (2nd Cir. 2017) - Won Second Circuit affirmance for a Michelin subsidiary upholding summary judgment from the Southern District of New York. The case involved fraud perpetrated by a former employee and a third party.
- Won a multimillion-dollar arbitration award for an energy company, recovering more than 15 times the last settlement offer made before trial.
- Represented a Fortune 20 company in an international arbitration hearing that resulted in a settlement, after the hearing concluded, for more than 90% of our client's claim.
- Won a complete defense jury verdict for a major auto parts manufacturer in federal court in Kentucky. WTO was called in just six months before trial in this protracted contract dispute that had already included two trips to the Sixth Circuit.
- Stillwater Mining Co. v. Power Mount, Inc. (D. Colo. 2017) - Won a complete defense ruling for a heavy metals supplier after a week-long bench trial involving a breach of contract claim in which the plaintiff sought $28 million.
- Successfully represented an aerospace supplier in a product liability action involving responsibility for a $10 million cleanup effort at a rocket manufacturing facility.
- Successfully defended a Fortune 50 telecommunications conglomerate against allegations brought by a competitor that WTO's client breached FCC phone number portability regulations.
- Won summary judgment on multiple claims for a national dermatology practice with over 50 offices. Claims included breach of contract, conspiracy, fraud, and other allegations. Once the major claims were dismissed, the plaintiffs agreed to a nuisance settlement that involved no payment by WTO's client.
- General Steel v. Armstrong Steel (D. Colo. 2016) - Won a jury verdict for Armstrong Steel against claims of false advertising and defamation in a two-week trial in federal court in Colorado. A competitor of Armstrong sought millions of dollars.
- Obtained a preliminary injunction for a $1 billion oil and gas client involved in bet-the-company litigation against an executive.
- Obtained dismissal for an insurance company client facing a civil RICO lawsuit in federal court, with risk of treble damages, for issuing a surety bond to a marijuana business as required by state regulations. The judge granted our client's motion to dismiss because the plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege injury sufficient to establish RICO standing.
- Represented Denver International Airport against the Regional Transportation District in a dispute over cost sharing agreements involving a new rail line serving the airport.
- Won summary judgment for a major ski resort as plaintiff in a contract dispute involving a wireless infrastructure contractor.
- EPMM Colorado v. Green Cross Colorado (Denver Cnty. Dist. Ct. 2015) - Won reversal of a TRO that had been issued ex parte at the close of business on a Friday, effectively shutting down operations for a major manufacturing and distribution client, and subsequently won rejection of the injunction against WTO's client.
- L.G. Motorsports v. NGMCO & Michelin (5th Cir. 2015) - Won Fifth Circuit affirmance of a trial court's summary judgment for Michelin in a case alleging that Michelin and General Motors conspired to prevent the plaintiff from obtaining Michelin racing tires for use in the American Le Mans racing series. The original complaint included antitrust claims, which were dismissed, and unfair competition claims that survived until discovery, when no evidence supporting such claims was produced and the trial court granted summary judgment.
- Won an arbitration award for future oil and gas royalties valued between $70,000,000 and $100,000,000 in a David v. Goliath case against a multinational oil company.
- In re Ford Explorer Cases (Cal. Sacramento Cnty. Super. Ct. 2007) - Defended Ford Motor Co. in a four-month certified class action trial involving $2 billion in consumer fraud claims. On the day set for closing arguments, the plaintiffs agreed to a no-cash, coupon-based settlement for the California class and classes in three other states with pending parallel actions.
- Obtained a temporary restraining order in Denver District Court against a retailer and its owner in a brand-protection case WTO handled for a well-known appliance manufacturing company.
- Won a jury defense verdict for Conoco following a six-week trial involving claims by the town of Castle Rock, Colorado that a leaking Conoco underground storage tank had contaminated the town's municipal drinking water.
- Stearns v. Jetway - Won Fifth Circuit affirmation of the lower court's granting of summary judgment in a case alleging unfair monopolization against FMC Corporation and involving the company's aircraft boarding bridges.
- Rieder v. Hallmark - Settled trademark/antitrust litigation regarding nationwide market for distribution of greeting cards.
- Prevailed in a preliminary injunction hearing in a dispute over a valuable lease farmout relating to a successful oil shale well in Wyoming for a large regional energy company.
- Represented a natural gas company in a complex contract dispute involving production from a large gas field in Wyoming; the case was favorably resolved before trial.
- Won a commercial arbitration that sought a buyout of client's multimillion dollar interest in a nationwide petroleum marketing joint venture.
- Thiedemann v. Mercedes-Benz USA, 183 N.J. 234 (2005) - Won the seminal New Jersey decision on ascertainable loss in consumer fraud actions and affirmed summary judgment in favor of Mercedes-Benz.