R. Kirk Mueller

Partner

Phone 303.892.7456

Kirk Mueller has, for 20 years, practiced commercial litigation and environmental law, and represented clients in the oil, gas, mining, and energy industries in an array of regulatory, permitting, compliance, and enforcement matters. He has briefed and argued four cases in the Colorado Supreme Court, winning reversals in three of them, participated in several large CERCLA cost recovery and toxic tort actions, and secured multimillion dollar breach of contract and insurance coverage settlements on behalf of his clients.

Mr. Mueller began his legal career in 1986 clerking for the Honorable James E. Barrett on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. In 1987, he joined Holland & Hart in Denver, Colorado, where he handled commercial and environmental litigation matters and appeals. Among other matters, Mr. Mueller assisted with the defense of a large toxic tort action brought by homeowners in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin who alleged that their subdivision had been contaminated by a nearby open pit coal mine. He also served as an exchange attorney with the Denver city attorney’s office prosecuting domestic violence cases.

In 1993, Mr. Mueller became in-house counsel to the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), a Fortune 30 oil company with offices in Denver. As a member of ARCO’s environmental litigation group, he managed several of the company’s “legacy” liabilities at former operation sites across the west, and organized and supervised the defense of one of the nation’s largest CERCLA cost recovery actions, United States v. ARCO. As counsel to ARCO Coal Company, Mr. Mueller handled a wide range of regulatory permitting and compliance proceedings involving surface and underground coal mine operations in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, managed litigation of coal supply contracts, and assisted the company with various employment, health, and safety issues.

Mr. Mueller returned to private practice in 1998 to represent plaintiffs and defendants in commercial litigation and environmental matters. He represents a number of individual home security alarm dealers in breach of contract actions against ADT Security Services, and has advanced citizen suits to compel environmental cleanups pursuant to RCRA and the Clean Water Act. On behalf of individuals and corporations, Mr. Mueller successfully litigated several insurance coverage cases involving multimillion dollar claims for commercial and environmental liabilities, two of which, led to precedent-setting decisions by the Colorado Supreme Court. Mr. Mueller also participated in the defense of the prime defendant in a $200 million CERCLA cost recovery lawsuit brought by the U.S. and State of Colorado relating to the Summitville Mine and represented parties in a large, multiparty CERCLA suit brought by the Colorado School of Mines. He represented a real estate purchaser in an action against the seller for breach of warranty, and parties to construction and consulting contracts for negligence. Mr. Mueller also continues to represent natural resource clients in connection with enforcement actions, rulemakings, adjudications, and permit hearings at the state and federal level. He recently participated in all facets of applying for, negotiating, and securing various state and federal permits, including Clean Water Act permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for construction of a 150-mile long liquid petroleum pipeline by Marathon Ashland Pipeline Company, and successfully defended the permit against legal challenges based on NEPA.

Mr. Mueller joined Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP in 2007 where he continues to counsel and represent clients in litigation, natural resources, environmental, regulatory, and appellate matters.

Mr. Mueller currently serves on the Host Committee for Dine for the High Line.

Published Decisions

  • Robert M. Friedland v. Travelers Ins. Co., 105 P.3d 639 (Colo. 2005)
  • Cyprus Amax Minerals Co. v. Lexington Ins. Co., 74 P.3d 294 (Colo., 2003)
  • Stop the Ohio Pipeline v. Thomas E. White, 233 F. Supp. 2d 957, (E. D. Ohio, 2002)
  • Bloomer v. Board of County Comm’rs of Boulder, 799 P.2d 942 (Colo. 1990)
  • In Interests of RC, 775 P.2d 27 (Colo. 1989)

Education

University of Wyoming, J.D., Order of the Coif, with Honors, 1986

University of Oregon, M.A., 1980

University of Oregon, B.A., 1978

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