The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in McGihon v. Cave on Thursday, May 19, 2016.
Defendant Thomas Cave filed a complaint with the Secretary of State, alleging that plaintiff Anne McGihon, a lobbyist, violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act by allowing her name to be placed on an event invitation on behalf of a candidate for the Colorado House of Representatives. Following a hearing, an ALJ dismissed Cave’s claims and awarded McGihon attorney fees jointly against Cave and his attorney, Jessica Peck. The ALJ found that Cave’s claims were substantially groundless, frivolous, and vexatious.
McGihon filed an enforcement action in district court. Cave and Peck filed separate motions to dismiss, arguing the district court lacked jurisdiction over the enforcement action. The district court granted the motions and McGihon appealed.
On appeal, the Colorado Court of Appeals found that although fee awards are contemplated by both C.R.S. § 1-45-111.5(2) and Colo. Const. art. XVIII, § 9(2)(a), there is no enforcement mechanism available for prevailing respondents. Because McGihon did not raise equal protection and due process arguments in district court, the court of appeals declined to consider them.
The court affirmed the district court’s dismissal.