Bar and Court Admissions
Rebecca Graves Payne represents clients in complex legal malpractice and professional liability matters, bringing significant appellate and brief writing experience. Rebecca has served on several successful teams defending lawyers and law firms against malpractice, particularly in cases involving significant damages.
Rebecca also represents sophisticated clients in commercial litigation, including business torts and intellectual property disputes. Most recently, she briefed two winning cases in the Colorado Supreme Court.
- Sunflower Condo. Ass'n v. Owners Ins. Co., No. 18-1478, 2020 WL 598981 (10th Cir. Feb. 7, 2020) - Won a significant appeal for Owners Insurance Company against a condominium association that filed an inflated insurance claim and sought more than $5 million in total damages.
- Won an arbitration award for a lawyer and law firm against malpractice claims related to a 2014 real estate deal. Claimants asserted damages of $3 million plus interest. The arbiter ruled for WTO's client and found that no malpractice occurred.
- Won a complete defense verdict for a lawyer and law firm accused of malpractice in the handling of a sale of interests in the plaintiff's company.
- Successfully obtained a Rule 12(b) dismissal of a complaint filed against two law firms in Colorado state court.
- 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.
- Won a unanimous opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court that strongly upholds Colorado's strict privity rule in determining whether non-client beneficiaries may sue an estate lawyer for malpractice or professional liability. In its opinion, the Court adopted the most stringent test, as WTO advocated, and affirmed that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue our clients.
- 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.
- Bristol Bay Productions v. Lampack (Colo. Denver Dist. Ct. 2008) - Won dismissal from trial court for publisher Simon & Schuster in a case involving a movie studio's $50 million damages claim relating to the movie Sahara and alleging false representation of popular novelist Clive Cussler's readership figures.
- Drafted successful petition for certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court in legal malpractice case involving third-party beneficiary breach of contract claim, and ultimately won a unanimous opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court confirming that the strict privily rule bars claims by non-clients against attorneys absent a showing of fraud, malicious conduct, or negligent misrepresentation.
Publications & Speaking Engagements
Speaker at "Behind the Bench - A Clerk's Panel, Practice Tips and Insights," Faculty of Federal Advocates, February 13, 2019
Speaker at Arapahoe County Bar Association's 2016 Spring CLE, on Attorney Liability to Non-Clients
Speaker at CLE International's 11th Annual Ethics Seminar, December 11, 2006 Denver, Colorado, on Ethical Ramifications of Investigations
Co-Author, Chapter 24, "Legal Malpractice," Cause of Action Treatise, Continuing Legal Education in Colorado, Inc. (2017)
Co-Author, "Colorado's Current Formulation of the Economic Loss Rule Bars Claims for Post Contractual Fraud," The Colorado Lawyer (December 2012)
"Admissibility of Testimony Concerning the Truthfulness or Untruthfulness of a Witness," The Colorado Lawyer (December 2006)
"Investigative Tactics: They May Be Legal, But Are They Ethical?," The Colorado Lawyer (January 2006).
Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP
Jacobs Chase LLC
Jackson Kelly PLLC
Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors
Miners Alley Playhouse
Board of Directors
Running, reading, cooking, and spending time with her two children