Judge denies Boulder County’s (CO) bid for attorney’s fees, court costs in open-records suit

A Boulder District Court judge has denied Boulder County’s effort to get Gunbarrel resident Kristin Bjornsen to pay more than $3,900 in attorney’s fees and related court costs that the county claimed was part of the expense of defending the county in an open-meetings and open-records lawsuit.

Bjornsen welcomed Judge Thomas Mulvahill’s decision and said in an interview that she’ll soon be submitting a brief to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which she’s asking to reverse earlier rulings in which Mulvahill concluded Boulder County had not violated open meetings and open-records laws.

Mulvahill wrote in his March 12 order that “the court cannot conclude” that Bjornsen “clearly knew or reasonably should have known” that her Colorado Open Records Act lawsuit “was frivolous, vexatious or groundless.”

Mulvahill said that while Bjronsen’s performance at a court hearing in the lawsuit last year “was ineffective,” he said she did not have an attorney at that point and had “virtually no legal experience” in representing herself.

“Her litigation of this matter was not antagonistic toward any party or person, and the record reflects that she engaged in efforts to reasonably streamline her claims and the litigation,” Mulvahill wrote. (Read more…)