WRIT LARGE CONTINUED
enal,” he says. “it was limited to an hour, and the
lead defense lawyer kept jumping up [to protest].
and, finally, Judge Kane said, ‘that’s enough!’”
Davidoff adds: “i think David would probably
agree that i was the slug-it-out guy.”
in February 2006, the jury awarded the plaintiffs
$200 million in punitive damages and $177 million
in compensatory damages under the Price-anderson act. the defense appealed and, in 2010, the
10th Circuit Court of appeals ruled in its favor and
vacated the class-action certification.
the Baker & Montague team was also dealing
with a personal tragedy at the time.
“i had a co-counsel, Peter nordberg—he was
my second chair at the time,” says Davidoff. “He
was a tremendous lawyer that we all admired and,
a month after the first oral argument before the
10th Circuit, he suddenly passed away. that was a
difficult moment in the case for us, but we still had
to pull ourselves together.”
in 2011, the attorneys filed a petition for writ
of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping it
would review the 10th Circuit Court’s ruling. the
request was denied.
the case then returned to the District Court of
Colorado, where it was ruled that the plaintiffs’
nuisance claims were preempted by the Price-
anderson act and that the plaintiffs could recover
damages only under the act.
in 2014, Davidoff appealed the District Court’s
ruling to the 10th Circuit, arguing before then-Judge
neil gorsuch for reinstatement of the original judg-
ment. For him, it was among the best moments of
the entire case. “i realized that he had read every-
thing—everything. and that he was meticulously
prepared, and was giving us a fair hearing,” he says.
Judge gorsuch ruled in Davidoff’s favor and, in
June 2015, the District Court ruling was reversed.
the plaintiffs then filed a motion at District Court
in an attempt to re-certify the class action.
Meanwhile, they began settlement discus-
sions, which lasted seven months. On May 18,
2016, a breakthrough: the parties reached a
$375 million settlement.
Sorensen calls it the most amazing turnaround
he’s ever seen; Davidoff stresses not giving up was
the key to getting class members their compensation.
the final details aren’t wrapped up quite yet,
however: a hearing for the final approval of the
settlement with Judge Kane was scheduled for
april 28, 2017, after this issue went to press. if that
goes according to plan, Davidoff expects class
member payments will finally begin in late 2017 or
“We had class representatives that stuck with this
case for 27 years, and came to every day of the trial,”
he says. “i can’t imagine having a better group.”
after almost three decades, it’ll finally be in the
books. “i’m 55 years old,” adds Sorensen. “this
case has been about half of my life.”
begins at U.S.
for the District
$177 million in
under Price-Anderson Act
Court of Appeals