On Monday, January 29, 2024, the Colorado Supreme Court put an end to the years-long dispute between Adams County, Colorado and the City and County of Denver (“Denver”) over alleged noise violations from Denver International Airport (“DEN”) when it dismissed an Adams County lawsuit as barred by the statute of limitations and reversed a multi-million-dollar judgment against Denver. Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell represented Denver in the litigation in the trial court and Colorado Court of Appeals and as co-counsel in the Colorado Supreme Court.
The case arose from a 1988 agreement between Adams County and Denver that led to the creation of DEN and required Denver to report noise levels from aircraft using DEN at a number of locations surrounding the airport. Although Adams County knew as soon as DEN opened in 1995 that Denver was using a noise modeling system to fulfill that obligation, Adams County waited until 2018 to challenge the nose modeling system in court, claiming that Denver was instead required to use a microphone-based noise monitoring system. At trial, Denver argued that Adams County waited too long to file its suit, but the trial court ruled in Adams County’s favor, awarding $33.5 million in liquidated damages plus interest. The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court judgment, but the Colorado Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Adams County knew that Denver was using a noise modeling system in 1995, the three-year statute of limitations for breach of contract claims began to run at that time, and Adams County’s 2018 complaint challenging the noise modeling system was time-barred. The court reversed the judgment against Denver and dismissed Adams County’s complaint.
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell is proud to have played a role bringing this case to a successful conclusion on behalf of Denver.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s opinion, City & County of Denver v. Board of County Commissioners of Adams County, 2024 CO 5, can be found here .