City of Colorado Springs pays millions to settle lawsuits

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The City of Colorado Springs has shelled out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits in the past year.

When it comes to legal action against the city of Colorado Springs there’s a lot of paperwork to go through.

There are more than 200 pages of litigation documents, from the past year that covers February of 2013 to February of 2014.

Here are the top five payouts from lawsuits.

In Nancy Ruminski versus the City of Colorado Springs doing business as Memorial Hospital.

The plaintiff alleges she was given the wrong dose of medication when she was admitted to memorial north… for treatment of hives and tongue swelling.

She claims past and future “physical and mental” pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income, and physical and cognitive impairment.

The case was settled for $885,000.

In a case specifically directed at City Council. Terri Velasquez former CFO for the city sued the city through City Council and Steve Cox, for wrongful termination.

She claims the city violated equal protection of the constitution, for both age and gender. Behind closed doors they resolved the claims, with the city agreeing to pay $250,000 without admission of wrongdoing.

That case was permanently dismissed.

In another case claiming unconstitutional actions by the city, Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, Star Bar Players, Green Peace, The Denver Voice and other plaintiffs filed a federal case for a permanent injunction against enforcement of the Downtown No-Solicitation Zone ordinance.

They said it’s unconstitutional.

After a full-day hearing, the courts approved their request saying the city couldn’t enforce the No-Soliciation Zone until there was a full trial. But that didn’t happen, because the plaintiffs filed a notice of settlement and the case was closed after the city paid $110,000.

Another case was brought by the ACLU and the city nixed the ban in March 2014.

In a simpler case, Herbert Goldstein alleged he and the city entered into a lease agreement for properties on South Wahsatch in 1981.

He says when the lease was up in 2009, the city turned the property over to Goldstein. He says the city breached its contract when it failed to pay storm water fees and rehabilitate the property.

A trial was held and the court ruled in favor of Goldstein, finally having to pay $104,950 for property damage, overhead, and lost rent.

But the biggest payout was to Trustees of the Springs Transit Company Employee’s Retirement Disability Plan.

In a money-saving effort in 2009, the city cut off its contract with the bus operator First Transit, which was contracted by the city to operate Mountain Metro’s south garage.

The city had signed off that if the contract was terminated, it would either find another contractor to take over the pension plan or assume sponsorship itself. That didn’t happen.

The city claims it saved $20 million since 2009 by not operating the garage.

The case was settled for $8 million.

All together for just those five suits, the city paid out $9,349,950.74.

The city attorney and communications department can’t comment on these matters.

But the papers are public record. You can see all the litigation documents by clicking here. 

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