CTLA Holds ‘Spring…ish’ Awards Dinner at Denver Zoo

Monsanto lawsuit wins ‘Case of the Year,’ Lorraine Parker receives lifetime achievement award

The Colorado Trial Lawyers Association on Oct. 8 held its annual awards dinner at the Denver Zoo, where the group announced its Case of the Year Award winner and honored Lorraine Parker of Parker Lipman with a lifetime achievement award.

The event, usually held in the spring, was postponed due to the pandemic and renamed the “Spring…ish Dinner 2020.” Before the award ceremony started, guests were encouraged to wander the zoo grounds and admire the rhinoceroses, elephants and emus while keeping a safe distance from the other humans in attendance. 

This year’s Case of the Year Award winner was a case that made international headlines as the first federal court trial to hold the Monsanto Company accountable for its role in causing cancer. Attorneys from Andrus Wagstaff and the Moore Law Group were recognized for their work on behalf of California resident Edwin Hardeman, who sued Monsanto in 2016, alleging his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was a result of exposure to the company’s weed-killing product Roundup. 

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In March 2019, a federal jury in San Francisco awarded Hardeman more than $80 million, an amount a judge later reduced to $20 million. The New York Times called the verdict a “milestone in the contentious public debate over Roundup.” The case is currently on appeal in the 9th Circuit. 

Attorneys Aimee Wagstaff, David Wool and Kathryn Forgie of Andrus Wagstaff PC and Jennifer Moore of the Moore Law Group represented Hardeman in the case.  When accepting the award, Wagstaff said, “This is really the case of a lifetime that you get as an attorney.”

Wagstaff also received CTLA’s Access to Justice award, which recognizes “perseverance, courage and character” in cases of extraordinary circumstances. 

Lorraine Parker received the Kenneth Norman Kripke Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors an attorney in practice for more than 25 years whose career has “exemplified the skills, ethics and dedication embodied in the CTLA mission.” 

During her acceptance speech, Parker described her path from criminal lawyer to civil defense attorney and, eventually, to a full-time plaintiff’s attorney. “Being a trial lawyer is hard work,” Parker said, adding the job usually involves going up against defendants with more power and money.

“Sometimes we take a case and we think, you know, there probably is no way that we can win. 

But you just go out there and give it your best,” she said, adding that for most clients, “that’s all they want most of the time. They want to feel well represented and they want to know that they have someone on their side fighting.”

Nicole Quintana, a partner at Ogborn Mihm, received CTLA’s New Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, which is given to an attorney who has been in practice for less than 10 years. 

Alana Anzalone of Anzalone Law Offices was awarded the Outstanding Service to CTLA Award, which is given to a member who “goes above and beyond expectations” in helping the organization achieve its goals. 

CTLA’s Consumer Protection Award was given to non-attorneys Dave Repsher, Amanda Repsher and Karen Mahany for their work to improve helicopter safety. Mahany’s husband, Patrick Mahany, was a helicopter pilot who was killed in a crash in 2015 shortly after the Flight for Life helicopter he was flying lifted off in Summit County. Dave Repsher, a crew member on the helicopter, survived the crash but ended up with severe burns covering 90% of his body. 

Since then, Mahany, David Repsher and his wife Amanda have pushed lawmakers, the Federal Aviation Administration and helicopter manufacturers to improve safety standards. In 2019, Congress passed the Safe Helicopters Now Act, which Mahany helped write. The law provides a tax credit to encourage manufacturers to retrofit their fuel systems so they are safer in a crash.

—Jessica Folker

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