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O'Connor v. Williams

United States District Court, D. Colorado

November 17, 2014

DARREN O'CONNOR, Plaintiff,
v.
ANGELA WILLIAMS, Defendant

For Darren O'Connor, Plaintiff: Danielle C. Jefferis, Darold W. Killmer, Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP, Denver, CO.

For Angela Williams, in her capacity as Colorado State Representative, Angela(I) Williams, individually, Defendants: Edward T. Ramey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Heizer Paul, LLP, Denver, CO.

Page 1361

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Richard P. Matsch, Senior United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Darren O'Connor lives in Boulder, Colorado and is a political activist who focuses on home foreclosure issues. He is an active member of the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition (" Foreclosure Coalition" ). Defendant Angela Williams is a state house representative who represents State House District 7, which covers northeast Denver. Rep. Williams is the chair of the Colorado House Business, Labor, Economic, Workforce Development Committee (" Business Committee" ).

During the 2013 legislative session, the Business Committee considered House Bill 13-1249, a piece of legislation designed to reform the state home foreclosure process. O'Connor called Rep. Williams' office to express his and his organization's support for the bill. O'Connor asked to speak personally with Rep. Williams; she did not meet with him or his group. O'Connor and others staged a sit-in in front of her office at the Colorado State Capitol in March 2013.

A hearing was held on the bill on April 13, 2013. Nine members of the Committee, including Rep. Williams, voted against

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the bill; two members supported it. The Committee then voted 10-1 to postpone the bill indefinitely; Rep. Williams voted to postpone.

Rep. Williams held a town hall meeting at the end of the legislative session in mid-May 2013. Rep. Williams asked Denver Police officers to attend the meeting because she feared for her safety given the failure of House Bill 13-1249. [Doc. 16, Ex. 1 at 23:13-23.] Approximately 50-60 people attended the meeting. O'Connor was one of them. When Rep. Williams was bringing the meeting to a close, O'Connor and another man jumped up and yelled: " Why won't you tell your constituents what happened with House Bill 1249, and why you killed it?" Rep. Williams explained the bill to the attendees and why it did not pass. Following the meeting, a man (not O'Connor) got in Rep. Williams' face and yelled at her (it is not clear regarding what). Police escorted the man from the building. Then, O'Connor approached Rep. Williams and they had a five-minute conversation. O'Connor spoke about six inches from Rep. Williams' face, which made her feel uncomfortable. Rep. Williams asked an observing police officer to escort O'Connor from the building. It is not clear whether the officer did so.

On June 17, 2013, Rep. Williams e-mailed O'Connor to see if he was available for a meeting later in the day. O'Connor responded that that day did not work for him and proposed other dates. Rep. Williams replied that she was not available for one of the several dates O'Connor proposed. O'Connor wrote back to Rep. Williams and proposed additional dates. Rep. Williams did not respond.

Rep. Williams had a town hall meeting scheduled for June 21, 2013 that was cancelled a week in advance. O'Connor did not receive a cancellation notice and went with a group from Boulder to Denver to attend the meeting only to find out that it was not being held. O'Connor and his fellow advocates instead distributed leaflets throughout Rep. Williams' neighborhood. The leaflets accused Rep. Williams of failing to protect her constituents from fraudulent foreclosures. O'Connor left a leaflet on Rep. Williams' doorstep, along with his business card. O'Connor also posted a message on Rep. Williams' Facebook page stating that he had cancelled plans with his daughter to attend the meeting and that he was upset that the meeting had been cancelled without notice to him.

When Rep. Williams arrived home on the evening of June 21, 2013, she noticed that leaflets from the Foreclosure Coalition and O'Connor's business card had been left on her doorstep. Rep. Williams visited several of her neighbors, who told her that while they had received the Coalition's leaflets, there were no business cards attached. Rep. Williams then contacted other members of the Business Committee. The members she spoke to told her that O'Connor had not contacted them in any way regarding the bill. Rep. Williams contacted the Colorado State Patrol at the State Capitol and the local police to express concern for her safety. She asked the police for extra patrols in her neighborhood. She obtained a concealed carry firearm permit.

On September 21, 2013, Rep. Williams attended the Losing Ground Conference at Manual High School in north-central Denver. O'Connor was in attendance and sat in the fourth row of the crowd while Rep. Williams spoke as a panel member. Rep. Williams notified Michael Calo, a Denver Police officer in attendance, that O'Connor was there. Calo later testified that nothing about O'Connor's behavior at the time caused ...


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