Thomas P. Johnson
Senior Of Counsel

Mark Champoux
Jordan Lipp
Janet Savage
William A. Bianco
Senior of Counsel
Dale R. Harris
Senior Of Counsel
Richard P. Holme
Senior Of Counsel
Andrew M. Low
Senior of Counsel
Nathalie Bleuzé
Of Counsel
John A. Francis
Of Counsel
Sybil R. Kisken
Of Counsel
John M. Bowlin
Kyle W. Brenton
Kyler K. Burgi
Tess Hand-Bender
David C. Holman
Terry R. Miller
Erin K. Murphy
Ben Strawn
Paul D. Swanson

Commercial Litigation

With decades of experience in commercial litigation, ranging from representing large national and international corporations to small businesses and individuals, Commercial Litigation Group of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP has a reputation for success.

We appreciate that litigation is not the only way to resolve legal controversies.  Our skill and experience in arbitration, mediation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution are widely recognized, and our lawyers will work with you to discuss the range of available strategies that can be pursued to accomplish the most efficient and effective result in each case.  With accurate case evaluation, efficient staffing, targeted discovery and motion practices, and appropriate technological support, we conduct our litigation matters in ways that make business sense for our clients.

February 2016

Skip Marter Joins DGS

Cyrus (Skip) Marter has joined Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP as Of Counsel in the firm's Natural Resources Department. His practice will focus primarily on the areas of oil and gas, public lands, litigation, and corporate law. Mr. Marter was previously General Counsel for Buckhorn Energy Services. 

May 2015

Chambers USA Ranks DGS Among Top Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment Practices

The 2015 edition of the Chambers USA ranked Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP first in Colorado in the areas of Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment. Chambers USA also recognized DGS for its strong Labor & Employment and Commercial Litigation practices.

November 2014

DGS Ranks Among Best Law Firms

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP was named among the 2014-2015 “Best Law Firms” by publisher Woodward/White, Inc. in their fifth edition, which published today. U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have joined forces to position more than 11,000 firms in 87 practice areas based in 178 metropolitan areas and eight states. Firms were ranked across three tiers both locally and nationally based on quantitative and qualitative data gathered from peer and client feedback.

July 2014

Environmental Restoration Damages: A New Trend of Regulating Cleanups Through Private Lawsuites

60th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute

Environmental restoration damages, which have their roots in the common law, allow an injured property owner to elect to recover the cost of repairing damaged property rather than the amount the property diminished in market value as a result of the harm. The longstanding commonlaw rule, however, is that damages based on the cost of repairing property cannot exceed the diminished value of the property.


June 2014

Compliance with FDA Labeling Guidelines No Defense Against Federal Unfair Competition Claims

In a highly-anticipated decision, the United States Supreme Court announced today that compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s food labeling guidelines is no defense against unfair competition claims brought by competitors under the Lanham Act. Quite the contrary – the Court found today, in the case of POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co., "powerful evidence that Congress did not intend FDA oversight to be the exclusive means of ensuring proper food and beverage labeling."

May 2014

The In-house Checklist of Steps for New Litigation

ACC Docket

Co-Authors: Marc Bonora and Jordan Lipp

In the first few days after a company is served with a new lawsuit — or receives a threat of a new lawsuit — there are numerous steps that in-house counsel should take. These steps serve a dual purpose: They ensure compliance with the requirements placed on a civil litigant, and they put the company in the best position to defend itself against the claims. During the initial scramble of investigating claims, figuring out legal defenses and obtaining outside counsel, it is not uncommon for in-house counsel to miss simple tasks and responsibilities.


September 2012

Federal Circuit Declines to Recognize Privilege for Settlement Negotiations

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, In re MSTG, Inc., 675 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (In re MSTG), rejects the proposition that settlement negotiation discussions are privileged and protected from discovery. The Federal Circuit’s decision is a reminder that stamping negotiation and settlement communications “Subject to F.R.E. 408” does not protect those communications from discovery by other parties.


DGS Wins Securities Fraud Case

On August 1, a six member jury returned a verdict in favor of DGS clients Baker & McKenzie and Joel Held in a securities fraud case.  Baker & McKenzie is one of the largest law firms in the country, and Joel Held is a now-retired partner from Baker & McKenzie’s Dallas office.


June 2012

DGS Attorneys Named to the CWBA Board of Directors

Three attorneys from Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP have been named to leadership roles with the Colorado Women’s Bar Association (CWBA). Effective in June, DGS partner Shannon Stevenson was named president-elect and will become president of the organization in June 2013. Associate Ann Lebeck will serve as an at-large board member and associate Michelle Meyer will serve as co-chair of the programs committee.


Chambers USA Ranks DGS at the Top for Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment Practices

Chambers USA

The 2012 edition of the Chambers USA ranked Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP first in Colorado in the areas of Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment. Chambers USA also recognized DGS for its strong Commercial Litigation and Labor & Employment practices.


March 2012

DGS Partner Kenzo Kawanabe Honored with the Minoru Yasui Community Service Award

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP partner Kenzo Kawanabe has been honored with the Minoru Yasui Community Service Award presented by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA) of Colorado.


September 2010

First 'Best Law Firms' Analysis Slots DGS as a National Leader

The inaugural, 2010 edition of the U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Guide ranks Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP as a national leader in mining law and mutual funds law – and honors the LoDo-based firm with first-tier regional rankings in energy, natural resources, commercial litigation and several corporate law areas, including tax, securities, private equity and M&A. U.S. News & World Report published the results yesterday. The survey included responses from 9,514 corporate executives, in-house lawyers, marketing officers or private practice attorneys.


August 2010

Davis Graham & Stubbs Attorneys Top “Best Lawyers” List in Colorado

The newly announced, 2011 edition of the Best Lawyers in America ranks Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP first in Colorado-based law practices for corporate governance and compliance law, environmental law, mergers and acquisitions law, natural resources law, oil and gas law and securities law. This year Best Lawyers recognizes 36 DGS attorneys, including 13 who have been named to the list for at least 10 years. Nearly half (46 percent) of DGS partners are recognized in the definitive guide to legal excellence, in addition to several attorneys of counsel to the firm. Best Lawyers is a peer-review survey of more than 39,000 in-house counsels and private practice attorneys.


July 2010

A Primer on Foreign Sovereign Immunity

Practical Law Publishing Ltd.

The doctrine of foreign sovereign immunity provides that a foreign state generally is immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of another sovereign state. State immunity developed as an "undisputed principle of customary international law" and the law of nations based on core aspects of sovereignty applicable in common law, civil law and other judicial systems (see Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States, Chap. 5 at 390 (AU 1986) (Restatement Foreign Relations)). Until the mid -twentieth century, sovereign immunity from the jurisdiction of foreign courts was almost absolute. However, as governments and state enterprises became more and more active in commercial activities in the modern era, private entities interacting with foreign states attacked complete sovereign immunity as fundamentally unfair in eliminating judicial recourse and favoring state companies.


Post-Levine: What Remains of Preemption of Prescription Drug Failure-to-Warn Claims?

FDCC Quarterly

Co-authors: Jeffrey R. Pilkington and Howard M. Cyr, III

In March 2009, the Supreme Court issued Wyeth v. Levine,1 one of the most anticipated decisions in the field of prescription drug litigation. In Levine, the Court articulated basic preemption principles that courts and litigants will follow for years to come. This article addresses the viability of two forms of preemption for prescription drug failure-to-warn claims in the post-Levine era.


June 2010

Chambers USA Places DGS at the Top for Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources/Environmental Law in Colorado

The 2010 edition of the Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business today ranked Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP first in Colorado in the areas of corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions, and natural resources and environmental law, which includes the traditional and renewable energy sectors and the mining industry. Chambers also recognized DGS for its strong general commercial and employment litigation practices.


March 2010

Kawanabe New Board Chair of The Denver Foundation

Kenzo Kawanabe, a partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, became chair of The Denver Foundation’s board of trustees in January, assuming a critical role for one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations during its 85th year. The Denver Foundation manages more than $500 million in assets, and distributes tens of millions of dollars to worthy community organizations every year.


FDCC Drug, Device and Biotechnology

Co-speakers: Jeffrey R. Pilkington and Howard M. Cyr

February 2010

DGS Attorney Elizabeth Titus Elected Colorado GLBT Bar Association President for 2010

DGS associate Elizabeth Titus has been elected president of the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Bar Association for 2010. Formerly Colorado GLBT Bar Association’s secretary, Ms. Titus will continue to promote the group’s mission of providing support and a collective voice for Colorado GLBT legal professions through community involvement, activism and education.


June 2009

Chambers USA Reaffirms High Marks for Davis Graham & Stubbs Environmental Law and Corporate Practices

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP has been recognized again in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the areas of Environmental, Corporate/M&A, Labor & Employment and Commercial Litigation.


January 2009

New Partners Announced at Davis Graham & Stubbs: Selection Reflects Corporate Finance, Complex Litigation Focus

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP today announced the election of four new partners, effective Jan. 1, 2009.  The group includes a tax attorney, two corporate attorneys and a business litigator. 


September 2007

Davis Graham & Stubbs Tops "Best Lawyers" List in Colorado

Davis Graham & Stubbs – with 29 attorneys practicing in 30 fields – ranks first in Colorado-based attorneys listed in the 2008 edition of Best Lawyers in America for the practice areas of commercial litigation, natural resources, environmental law and corporate governance and compliance law. The number of DGS lawyers recognized in the definitive guide to legal excellence increased by three, and includes half of the firm’s partners. The book, targeted for in-house counsel, is to be published in December 2007.


June 2007

Chambers USA Rankings Highlight Davis Graham & Stubbs Strengths In Commercial Litigation, Environmental Law

Davis Graham & Stubbs ranked in the top tier of Colorado business law firms in the fields of Commercial Litigation and Environmental Law in the just-released 2007 edition of Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.  DGS was also recognized in the fields of corporate mergers and acquisitions, labor and employment, and real estate. 


March 2007

The Economic Loss Rule: Some Practical Consequences of the Distinction Between Contractual Duties and Other Legal Duties

URS’ Claims and Dispute Resolution Group

The “economic loss rule” provides that a party who suffers only economic harm may recover damages for that harm based only upon a contractual claim and not on a tort theory, such as negligence or strict liability. The law of torts provides a basis for recovering for personal injury or property damage.


February 2007

Davis Graham & Stubbs Attorney Erin Eiselein on e-Discovery Summit Panel

Erin McAlpin Eiselein, an attorney at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, will be a featured speaker at The COALSM eDiscovery Summit on Friday, March 2, at the Grand Hyatt Denver.  Presented by the Colorado Association of Litigation Support Managers, this educational seminar focuses on the recent Federal Rules of Civil Procedure changes concerning electronic discovery and evidence.


September 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs Attorney Erin Eiselein Named to National E Discovery Panel

Erin McAlpin Eiselein, an attorney at Davis Graham & Stubbs, has been selected as a speaker at a national symposium in New York City on September 18-20, “2nd E Discovery: Real World Solutions and Practical Strategies in a Changing Environment.” This conference will address the challenges associated with document retention and production and how to manage data and minimize risk, and will feature case studies, best practices and the latest updates in the regulatory landscape.


Best Lawyers in America Recognizes 26 Davis Graham & Stubbs Attorneys

Twenty-six Davis Graham & Stubbs attorneys practicing in 28 fields will be recognized in the 2007 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. The number of DGS lawyers recognized in the definitive guide to legal excellence increased by five this year, and represents more than 40% of DGS partners overall. DGS ranks first in the number of Colorado-based attorneys listed by the 2007 edition of Best Lawyers in the Commercial Litigation, Natural Resources, Environmental Law, Securities Law and Corporate Governance and Compliance Law practice areas.


May 2006

2006 Amendments to the Civil Rules: Modernization, New Math, and Polishing

The Colorado Lawyer

After a lengthy period of gestation, the Supreme Court and its Standing Committee on Civil Rules finally gave birth to a series of significant amendments to several of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, this article addresses amendments to Rules 4, 5, 6, 43, and 121. The amendments to these rules deal with practical issues that have arisen since the rules were adopted or last amended. The changes will ease some of the timing stress on litigation counsel and create greater conformity with certain federal rules. All of these new rules became effective January 1, 2006. Rule 4 was adopted and became effective March 23, 2006.


April 2006

'Private Judges' Alter Legal Landscape

The National Law Journal

There was a time when the use of private judges to solve litigious disputes was a California legal secret. But the secret is out now, and spreading fast. At least four states-Ohio, Indiana, Texas and Colorado-in the last year have have passed legislation or are considering new rules that broaden the authority of private judges to hear cases.


13 Davis Graham & Stubbs Attorneys Named Super Lawyers

Thirteen lawyers at Davis Graham & Stubbs law firm have been named Super Lawyers by their peers in Colorado. Law & Politics magazine polled active Colorado lawyers for nominations to identify the best attorneys in more than 55 practice areas based on peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Lawyers involves an attorney-led research process for a diverse listing of the top lawyers from private practice, in-house counsel and the public sector in different geographic locations. Only 5 percent of the lawyers in each region are listed in Colorado Super Lawyers, co-published by Law & Politics and 5280 magazine.


March 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs Named Counsel for National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Davis Graham & Stubbs law firm has been appointed as counsel for the National Pacific American Bar Association. Partner Kenzo Kawanabe serves as NAPABA General Counsel, and associates Vinineath Nuon Gopal and Andrea Wang as Associate General Counsel. NAPABA is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, providing a national network for its members and affiliates. NAPABA advocates for the legal needs and interests of the Asian Pacific American communities and represents the interests of 47 local APA bar associations, with practice settings ranging from solo practices to large firms, corporations, legal services organizations, non-profit organizations, law schools, and governmental
agencies. Since its inception in 1988, NAPABA has been at the forefront of national and local activities in the areas of civil rights, combating anti-immigrant backlash and hate crimes, increasing the diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, and professional development.


November 2005

One Refugee: A Commercial Litigator's Pro Bono Experience With Immigration Law

The Colorado Lawyer

On a sunny Colorado day, I proceed up the concrete steps and ring the front door buzzer of a three-story Victorian-style house near Colfax Avenue on Gaylord Street in Denver. This large house serves as the offices of the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center (“RMSC”), an organization dedicated to assisting refugees who have escaped brutal treatment in other countries. RMSC offers legal training, asylum law mentorship, research support, translators, and meeting space. RMSC also provides mental health services and legal assistance to refugees. The sidebar accompanying this article includes information about the types of cases available to attorneys who volunteer their services to RMSC.


September 2005

Appointed Judges Under New C.R.C.P. 122: A Significant Opportunity for Litigants

The Colorado Lawyer

Suppose there is a state court lawsuit where the client cannot justify the added monetary expense (or the emotional stress) that will almost inevitably be caused by indeterminate prolongation of the dispute. This expense can result from vacated and rescheduled pretrial hearings, delays in completing discovery, multiple trial settings with the consequent need for repeated preparation by lawyers and experts, and inconvenience to out-of-state witnesses. Suppose there is a case that is time-sensitive or complex and requires special attention, but the parties believe that the court will be unable to give the case the prompt handling or careful analysis it needs.


January 2005

Davis Graham & Stubbs Names New Partners

Davis Graham & Stubbs is pleased to announce that three of its attorneys have become partners in the firm. The new partners are Janette L. Ferguson, Victoria V. Johnson and Jonathan W. Rauchway. 


May 2004

Back to the Future - New Rule 16.1: Simplified Procedure for Civil Cases Up to $100,000

The Colorado Lawyer

Effective July 1, 2004, all lawyers handling civil litigation must be familiar with new Rule 16.1 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure ("C.RC.P." or "Rule"). Rule 16.1 provides dramatically simplified procedure and curtailed discovery, primarily for civil cases seeking damages up to $100,000 ("Simplified Procedure").


June 2003

Duty to Preserve Electronic Evidence After Enron and Andersen

The Colorado Lawyer

This article discusses when the duty of evidence preservation begins and the scope of that duty. It also provides guidance regarding company policies on the preservation of electronic evidence. The ease with which e-mail and other electronic documents can be deleted (or at least hidden from view) leads many in the business world to forget that principles governing document retention are formatneutral.


January 2003

The Litigator as Arbitrator: Particular Ethical Concerns

American Bar Association

Specific ethical issues may arise when an attorney serves as a neutral arbitrator in an employment dispute. The concerns of a litigator acting as an advocate differ from those of an arbitrator acting as an impartial decisionmaker. As an attorney, the litigator/arbitrator is subject to professional rules and codes governing attorney conduct in addition to the rules and canons promulgated by arbitration organizations such as the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”). These rules and canons offer guidance for the attorney in conducting an arbitration, but gray areas persist, particularly in the following areas.


January 2001

2000 Amendments to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act

The recent amendments to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976 (the "HSR Act"), which will take effect on February 1, 2001, promise to have a significant impact on the business and legal community by raising the threshold for the value of transactions that must be reported from $15 million to $50 million and requiring companies involved in larger deals to pay higher filing fees.


November 2000

FRANCHISOR v. FRANCHISOR AND THE LANHAM ACT: False Advertising and Infringement of Trademarks, Service Marks and Trade Dress

CLE International

In today's competitive market, franchisors often vigorously compete with one another for consumers and franchisees. Naturally, the goal is to be the best in the business and to let everyone know about your superiority. However, this jungle of competition is not without its laws, and certain federal and state rules govern its boundaries.


September 2000

Nash-Collector Wurtzler Is Methodical and Direct About Her Actions

The Colorado Lawyer

Gail Wurtzler does not take any action until she thinks about where she will fall as a result of the action. She describes herself as methodical and direct both in and out of the courtroom. "You learn this pattern of thinking in law school," she said.


August 2000

Colorado Bar Association President's Message to Members Opening Statement

The Colorado Lawyer

In an opening statement, we tell the court and jury what to expect during the trial. We review the evidence and focus on what's really important to our case. We give them our theme for the case and explain why they should decide the case in our favor.


March 2000

Just, Speedy, and Inexpensive: Possible Simplified Procedure For Cases Under $100,000

The Colorado Lawyer

Recently, a number of Colorado lawyers, as well as the Justices of the Colorado Supreme Court, have become increasingly concerned that middle class citizens are being denied effective access to the civil justice system because of "the law's delay" and the prohibitive expense of pursuing even relatively small, but personally important, legal claims. This lack of effective access also appears linked to the public's decreasing confidence in and approval of the judicial system.


January 2000

Hooters Liable Under the Violence Against Women Act

A federal judge has entered judgment for more than $500,000 under the Violence Against Women Act against a corporation that operates a Hooters restaurant in Colorado. Three former Hooters waitresses and bartenders, who the judge found were hired because of their sex and appearance, sued their employer for sexual harassment under Title VII and outrageous conduct. Nothing new there. But the plaintiffs added a twist: a claim under 42 U.S.C. '13981(c), a section of the Violence Against Women Act (the AVAWA), which allows the imposition of unlimited compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief when the plaintiff proves a crime of violence motivated by gender.