Co.: Town agrees to pay $35,063 in attorney fees after losing suit

The Pagosa Springs Town Council agreed at its meeting last Thursday, Oct. 20, to pay fees and costs of $35,063.50 to attorney Matt Roane, who represented the plaintiff in a suit against the town under the Colorado Sunshine Law.

The agreement came in the approval by council’s vote of 4-1 of a “Full and Final Release and Settlement Agreement,” to be filed in the lawsuit brought by plaintiff William Hudson against Town Clerk April Hessman, custodian of the town’s records. Councilor Tracy Bunning, acting as mayor pro tem for the meeting, voted to reject the settlement. Mayor Don Volger was absent.

The suit was filed in the aftermath of an executive session held by council on Sept. 17, 2015, and challenged the legality of its action in allowing a “contract adversary” to join it in the private meeting. Private meetings by elected public bodies are restricted by the Colorado Open Meetings Law (also known as the Sunshine Law) to narrowly limited purposes.