Anne L. McGihon, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Thomas E. Cave and Jessica K. Peck, Defendants-Appellees.
and County of Denver District Court No. 14CV32935 Honorable
Morris B. Hoffman, Judge
Announced May 19, 2016 The Contigulia Law Firm, P.C., Andrew
J. Contigulia, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellant
Firm of Hampton & Pigott, LLP, Audris G. Hampton, David
J. Pigott, Broomfield, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellee
Thomas E. Cave
Timmins, LLC, Edward P. Timmins, Jo Deziel Timmins, Denver,
Colorado, for Defendant-Appellee Jessica K. Peck
1 Plaintiff, Anne L. McGihon, appeals the district
court's order dismissing her petition for entry of
judgment based on an administrative law judge (ALJ) order
awarding her attorney fees under section 1-45-111.5(2),
C.R.S. 2015, of the Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA). We
2 Defendant Thomas E. Cave filed a complaint with the
Colorado Secretary of State alleging that McGihon, a
lobbyist, violated the FCPA by allowing her name to be placed
on an event invitation on behalf of a candidate for the
Colorado House of Representatives. Cave v. McGihon,
slip op. at 1 (Colo.App. No. 13CA0137, Nov. 27, 2013) (not
published pursuant to C.A.R. 35(f)). Following a hearing, the
ALJ dismissed Cave's claims and awarded McGihon attorney
fees in the amount of $17, 712.38, finding that Cave's
claims were substantially groundless, frivolous, and
vexatious. Id. at 4. The ALJ awarded the fees
jointly and severally against Cave and Cave's counsel,
Jessica K. Peck. Id. at 4-5. Cave appealed the
dismissal and the attorney fees award, and a division of this
court affirmed the ALJ's order. Id. at 1.
3 McGihon filed a petition for entry of judgment in the
district court against Cave and Peck. Cave and Peck filed
separate motions to dismiss the petition under C.R.C.P.
12(b). The district court granted the motions and dismissed
the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court
concluded that while section 1-45-111.5(2) allows an ALJ in
campaign finance cases to award fees and costs against either
party or its lawyers, no statutory authority exists for the
district court to convert such an award into a district court
judgment. The district court further held that the plain
language of the Colorado Constitution, article XXVIII,
section 9(2)(a), permits only the secretary of state or the
person filing an action to enforce the campaign finance laws
to enforce the ALJ's order awarding fees.
4 McGihon contends the district court erred when it dismissed
her petition for entry of judgment due to lack of
jurisdiction. As a question of first impression, we consider
whether section 1-45-111.5(2) and article XXVIII, section
9(2)(a) permit a respondent who has been awarded attorney
fees in an FCPA action to enforce the award in the district
court. We conclude they do not.
Standard of Review
5 We review the interpretation of statutes and constitutional
provisions, which are questions of law, de novo. Roup v.
Commercial Research, LLC, 2015 CO 38, ¶ 8
(statutes); Bruce v. City of ...