The eight-year legal battle between the Colorado attorney general’s office and Larry Castle and his now-shuttered Denver law firm appears to be over.
In a five-page order issued Friday, Denver District Judge Morris Hoffman reduced by nearly 85% a record $1.9 million in attorneys’ fees he had assessed against the AG’s office in its failed prosecution of Castle and others for alleged price gouging during the nation’s foreclosure crisis.
The $277,243 in refigured attorneys’ fees is the result of a state appellate court decision in September that reversed Hoffman’s earlier calculation, saying the judge had made the award inaccurately.
Hoffman’s order likely ends the courtroom fight the two sides had waged since the state began investigating Castle and his foreclosure work in 2012. The state unsuccessfully accused the law firm and two other defendants – Absolute Posting & Process Services and Colorado American Title – of reaping millions of dollars in illegitimate profits by padding their billings.
“The attorney general’s misguided crusade against the Castle Law Firm wasted millions of dollars,” said Larry Pozner, Castle’s attorney. “Colorado taxpayers deserve an investigation and an apology. “
The AG’s office said it’s moving on.
“We hope this ruling brings the case to a close,” AG spokesman Lawrence Pachecho said in an email to The Denver Post.
In all, the state spent about $612,000 in taxpayer dollars and landed only a $119,500 judgment against Castle on one count of the lawsuit. That award was ultimately overturned in April 2019.
The state’s case, which has lasted through three state attorneys general, beginning with now-Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, initially sought more than $26 million in damages.
In a companion case against now-closed law firm Aronowitz & Mecklenburg, which was Castle’s biggest foreclosure competitor, the state landed a $10 million settlement.