Cordillera homeowners, addiction treatment center advocates headed for federal court of appeals
Partners in All Points North Lodge claim homeowners' campaign was a coordinated effort to discriminate
Developers of an addiction treatment center at the former Lodge at Cordillera site say lawsuits brought forth by Cordillera residents and the metro district violated federal law, and the parties are headed to federal court.
Noah Nordheimer and his partners in the All Points North Lodge, incorporated as CSMN LLC., say they spent two and a half years fighting and beating lawsuits brought by the Cordillera Property Owners Association, the Cordillera Metro District and individual Cordillera homeowners. Those lawsuits were “an effort to keep our treatment center, us, and our clients out of ‘their’ community,” attorney Sarah Baker said in an email.
The All Points North partners won each of the lawsuits and countersued, saying the various lawsuits violated the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Federal Magistrate Raymond Moore dismissed those claims, saying that the defendants were immune from liability based on their First Amendment right to petition the government.
“The judge ruled that CSMN did not sufficiently allege its claims and, more importantly, that CMD, CPOA and the individual defendants are immune because their actions were an exercise of their First Amendment rights. We look forward to a ruling from the court reaffirming those rights,” Rachel Oys, general manager of the Cordillera Metro District and Cordillera Property Owners Association, wrote in a statement.
“The defendants are hiding behind First Amendment rights. However it isn’t about the lawsuits they filed and what they said, it’s about why they filed them,” Nordheimer said.
Headed to federal court
All Points North appealed Moore’s decision. The two sides will argue Tuesday morning before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We aren’t asking the appellate court to make a decision in the case, we are asking them to allow us our day in court. The defendants dragged us through the courts for years. All we are asking for is discovery and a day in court to show that their actions were discriminatory and illegal,” Nordheimer said.
Longterm legal battles
The legal battles began when a group of Cordillera homeowners, the property owners association and the metro district sued to overturn a ruling by Eagle County Commissioners that stated Nordheimer and his partners in CSMN LLC were within their rights to convert the former Lodge at Cordillera into a wellness and residential treatment facility. That case went all the way to the Colorado State Supreme Court, which refused to hear it.
The Cordillera group of homeowners lost in front of 14 judges in six different courts, including the Colorado State Supreme Court last August.
“We already have evidence that can prove this was a coordinated effort to do one thing and one thing only, discriminate. We think that should matter,” Nordheimer said.
When they decided to punch back, Nordheimer and his All Points North partners turned to the two federal statutes.
“They harmed us and blocked access to care for thousands in a heavily underserved area of the country which is known to have one of the highest binge drinking rates in the country and suicide rates that are off the charts,” Nordheimer said.