A lawsuit filed within the context of a bankruptcy case is called an “adversary proceeding.” An adversary proceeding is typically filed by a creditor or the trustee responsible for the administration of the bankruptcy case and can pertain to a variety of legal issues, such as the recovery of money or property; the validity or priority of a lien; the determination as to the dischargeability of a debt; or the adjudication of a fraudulent transfer claim. An adversary proceeding can often pull parties into the bankruptcy that initially had little involvement, such as a business partner or the debtor’s spouse.
With some procedural nuances, an adversary proceeding is very similar to traditional civil litigation. For example, it is commenced with a complaint, to which the defendant must respond with either an answer or a motion to dismiss. The litigation team at Richards Carrington, LLC has handled multiple adversary proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado related to all kinds of legal issues, with an emphasis on fraud-related claims.
The Richards Carrington Appellate Practice Group handles civil, criminal, and administrative appeals in state and federal courts across the country. Our attorneys have argued before the Colorado Supreme Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals and are adept at legal analysis, strategy, and issue identification across a wide range of industries and substantive legal issues, including complex litigation, white-collar crime, and antitrust. We consider appellate advocacy to be an art, with language, prose, and sentence structure the tools of the trade. We also understand that protecting the appellate record starts in the trial court. For this reason, we consider early input and proactive strategy at the trial level to be a core function of our appellate team.
Attorney General Investigations & Litigation
Civil law enforcement actions prosecuted by the Attorney General are unlike other forms of litigation because the investigations are backed by the State’s practically limitless resources. As a result, they’re often overly expansive and invasive. The litigation arising from those investigations is typically unencumbered by business judgment or financial constraints and, instead, is often pursued for political purposes. An investigation’s effect on a business can be dramatic, ranging from changes to the way it operates to its overall viability. These dynamics make litigation against the State a daunting prospect. Simply put, those facing the Attorney General’s office need someone on their side who can help level the playing field.
We help protect businesses and other entities from Attorney General investigations which, in recent years, have grown to include an ever-longer list of industries and perceived wrongdoings. Unlike most firms, we have experience defending – and winning – cases against the Colorado Attorney General through trial. So many, in fact, that it’s earned us the nickname, “Enemies of the State.” Our team includes former prosecutors who understand the demands this kind of litigation places on a defendant, as well as the Attorney General’s motivations and incentives. We provide our clients with the thoughtful yet aggressive legal strategy necessary when facing the Attorney General.
Business & Commercial Litigation
Richards Carrington, LLC represents business entities and individuals in all phases of commercial and civil litigation. Our business litigation philosophy is unique. We do not immediately resort to protracted litigation, marked by a costly and often ego-driven volley of claims, counterclaims, and motions. Instead, we first immerse ourselves in our client’s business and industry in order to understand the various nuances and challenges they face. This critical first step results in our becoming the subject matter experts, enabling us to more effectively examine the opposing party, its own experts, and the claims they’ve made. This education also provides the foundation from which we can fully and authentically articulate to the Court or jury the critical facts and how they impact the “real world” in which the business operates.
Although we counsel clients on how to resolve disputes without resorting to litigation, that is not always an option, and we do not treat litigation as a mere formality on the path to a settlement agreement. Clients rely on our team of litigators and former prosecutors to prepare their cases for trial from day one. And with more than 200 jury trials to date, our team is well-known for its fearlessness, professionalism, and unwavering dedication to preparation. It’s these attributes that have led to favorable outcomes in courtrooms across the country.
Colorado’s cannabis industry continues to grow, and everyone from the legislature to dispensary owners and operators will tell you the rules and regulations surrounding it continues to change and evolve as well. While the cannabis industry faces many of the same challenges as other businesses – shareholder disputes, breaches of contract, compliance issues – other challenges it faces are unique. For example, while the state of Colorado has legalized the sale of marijuana, it remains illegal at the federal level. Thus, any litigation strategy must remain cognizant of the unique role in which cannabis businesses find themselves in today’s environment.
Our experience encompasses all litigation aspects of the cannabis industry, and we are well-versed in its most common disputes. These include everything from contract disputes to 280E audits conducted by the Internal Revenue Service. While each case is approached with a willingness to go to trial should the situation require it, our clients have come to rely on our counsel, advice, and ability to defuse problems before they get that far. Our goal is to address your issues quickly and efficiently so that your business can continue to grow.
Breaches and alleged breaches of contract are among the most common causes of business disputes. In today’s complex economy and competitive business environment, the outcome of a contractual dispute can forever change a company’s trajectory by directly impacting its reputation and therefore its prospects of success and survival.
Drawing on our firm’s extensive business litigation experience, we assist our clients by reviewing and offering guidance on written agreements, contractual provisions, and the spirit of the agreement in all manner of contract disputes. While we’re effective at resolving these issues, we always strive to keep disputes from happening in the first place, so you can spend more time focusing on what’s most important, your business.
Criminal Defense & White Collar Crime
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There’s no substitute for having a former prosecutor helping you navigate the deep waters of a criminal case. Richards Carrington’s Criminal and White Collar Practice Group is made up of former state and federal prosecutors who have been lead counsel in over 200 jury trials. The team understands how criminal allegations can devastate your life and brings that depth of experience to you.
Richards Carrington’s Criminal and White Collar Practice Group focuses on the following areas:
• Federal Crimes
• White Collar Crime
• Grand Jury Investigations
• Assault & Domestic Violence
• Sex Crimes
• Theft & Burglary
• Asset Forfeiture
• Firearms & Weapons
• Appeals & Post Conviction Writs
• Drunk Driving & Vehicular Offenses
• Money Laundering & Fraud
• Juvenile Crimes
Click here to learn more about Richards Carrington’s criminal practice.
Education Law & Student Rights
Students have the same rights as any other American, yet when school disciplinary issues and related problems arise, too often their rights are abused or ignored in a rush to judgment. School and university discipline codes and the criminal justice system work against students and their families when authorities bow to outside pressures including community criticism, media scrutiny and the threat of litigation. Without effective legal advocacy on behalf of the student, educational and governmental institutions may run afoul of the law and expose that young person to unwarranted and life-altering consequences.
Many factors combine to create an environment in which a student may find him or herself the target of a school or university investigation. The nature of state and federal laws, including the Title IX anti-discrimination statute, misuse of social media, confusion around the legality of “sexting,” Safe-to-Tell hotlines, and the speed at which news spreads and is consumed all play a part in this. And while teachers and school administrators may have good intentions, the rights of students suffer when authorities take it upon themselves to make critical decisions about a student’s future without transparency and basic due process. Without the resources, procedures and training to conduct competent and unbiased investigations, school and university disciplinary proceedings are often pretextual and poorly executed. The result is that young people are unfairly held to a different standard than an adult would be in the same set of circumstances, with consequences that can immediately impact their education and follow them the rest of their lives.
School and university disciplinary proceedings may result from allegations of:
- Sexual assault, harassment, and other misconduct
- Misuse of social media
- Academic dishonesty
- Drug possession and distribution
- Fake IDs
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- Weapons offenses
As a parent, consulting an attorney can help you and your child understand the potentially life-altering consequences of a school or university disciplinary investigation and how best to defend your student and family during that process. You may wish to consult an attorney to discuss:
- What should you do if you are contacted by the police?
- Can a student decline to be interviewed by the school or police?
- Can a school search a student’s backpack or locker without a warrant?
- Does a school need to get a parent’s consent before searching or interviewing a student when the situation involves allegations of academic or criminal misconduct?
- Do you have to let a teacher or administrator search your cell phone?
- What should you do if you receive notice that a school intends to suspend or expel your student?
- What is a Title IX investigation and how can you defend yourself during that process?
When a school’s unfair or unlawful disciplinary actions are at odds with a student’s basic legal rights, where should parents turn? When your child has been accused of wrongdoing, you need an advocate – someone who understands the law and who is committed to making sure your child’s rights are respected, and that they aren’t taken advantage of.
Unfortunately, business fraud is incredibly common, and when it happens, it can leave businesses, shareholders and consumers in a vulnerable position. The cost resulting from such an incident can easily end up in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Our team, which includes former prosecutors as well as attorneys with accounting backgrounds, has deep experience exposing fraud in matters at both the state and federal level, as well as defending such accusations. Our firm regularly handles cases involving misrepresentations, concealment, civil theft, fraudulent inducement, and fraudulent transfers. These matters require deep analytical and investigative skills and a “detective” mindset. Regardless of what it looks like, we’ve seen it and we can help.
A piece of land, especially in Colorado, may go unnoticed for years before one or multiple parties show any interest in it. Or perhaps the land is owned by a mother or father and then eventually passed down to be shared equally among various siblings who no longer get along. In any case, when two or more parties claim title to the same property, or co-owners can not decide on what should be done with it, our attorneys are ready to help.
Colorado real estate laws allow anyone with a property interest to petition the court to appoint a commissioner who will either divide the property among the owners or sell it, with the proceeds also being divided. In either scenario, the court’s goal is to make sure that each stakeholder gets their fair share. Contrary to what many believe, this does not mean all involved will get an equal share of the proceeds. In the eyes of the court, “fair” and “equal” are not synonymous. As a result, these cases can quickly become contentious, and you’ll need an experienced attorney on your side who can spring into action with the tools needed to make sure your interests are not only protected but that you’re fairly compensated for your contributions to a piece of real estate.
Plaintiff Side Legal Malpractice
When a client hires an attorney, not only are they paying them for their services, they’re entrusting them to capably and competently handlea very serious matter. These individuals should be able to trust their attorney in the very same way they trust their accountant or physician. When an attorney acts negligently (or worse), we can help to hold them accountable.
Legal malpractice can take many forms;however, most legitimate claims follow the same basic outline. The attorney had a duty or obligation to the client which they failed to uphold, and theclient was damaged as a result.
Richards Carrington is a respected name in the legal community, with the reputation and skill required to bring your legal malpractice case to a successful resolution. If you believe that you’re the victim of legal malpractice, give us a call.
Post-Judgment Investigations & Asset Tracing
Technology has made it easier than ever to move and hide assets by channeling and directing them between jurisdictions, entities, and accounts. Unsurprisingly, the ease with which this is accomplished has motivated many to try and conceal their assets in an attempt to hide them from the legal system. At the end of the day, time and again, the story is always the same: The debtor is attempting to keep something that a judge has ruled belongs to someone else.
After serving as litigation counsel to the Lehman Brothers estate for more than a decade, during which tenure we were responsible for enforcing judgments against debtors owing large sums of money to the estate, our team of former prosecutors are well-versed in locating and seizing judgment debtor assets across North America. We also employ various investigators who have amassed an extensive data repository related to hundreds of thousands of corporate entities, both national and international, and spanning more than four decades.
Historically, we represent businesses and individuals in pursuit of only high-dollar judgments, a complex process that can take years. Our investigations consist of field research and compiling evidence that outlines a debtor’s behaviors and habits. Every piece of information we collect – from the type of car they drive to where they live – will prove instrumental in compiling a profile of the debtor. It is through this process that we often discover and document the debtor’s attempts to shelter assets or otherwise hinder, delay, or defraud its creditors. This process also gives us substantial knowledge and command of the underlying facts prior to engaging in the adversarial and public aspects of litigation, such as levies, liens, assignment orders, subpoenas, and depositions.
Once we’ve achieved a ruling in your favor, we go to work tracing and recovering the assets you’re owed, no matter where they’re located. A judgment is worth nothing if it isn’t collected, and while any fraud is disruptive, our goal is to restore as much of what you’ve lost as possible.
Additionally, a large part of our post-judgment practice includes successor liability litigation. The law generally allows one company to purchase another’s assets without also assuming the seller’s debt. But this general rule has led to a string of dishonest and debt-laden companies trying to offload their liabilities by disguising mergers, spin-offs and more as legitimate sales or transfers of assets. Our attorneys aggressively investigate, explore, and prosecute successor entities for successor liability and fraudulent transfer claims.
Trade Secrets Litigation
How quickly can a business capitalize on an idea? Whether that idea takes the form of a new product or a marketing strategy, its success can often depend on whether that idea can be kept confidential. The modern job environment, in which individuals change employers every few years and more companies are competing over the same space, makes that considerably more difficult. Here, trade secrets may be betrayed through something as innocent as an email or text between coworkers. In some instances, businesses will employ more sinister methods to get the information they’re after.
The definition of a trade secret can be broad, encompassing many things, and trade secret law is complex. When taking on a trade secrets case, you need attorneys with broad experience. Our attorneys have handled cases dealing with matters related to client lists, non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, employee departures, and corporate espionage. Your company’s privacy, and the trade secrets that such privacy protects, can be your livelihood, and we’ll go to court to protect it.