An Arapahoe County judge has ordered the Columbine Country Club to pay $34,284 in attorney fees to a couple that it accused of boorish behavior and kicked out.
District Court Judge Paul King issued the order Friday. He determined the CCC acted in bad faith when it removed Henry and Kristina Adams from the country club and then refused to provide them with disciplinary records they were entitled to see.
“After having their lives completely torn apart, no ruling can undo the pain and suffering inflicted on the Adamses,” said their attorney, Christopher Groen of Fox Rothschild.
“However, this is another important step forward in the effort to rectify the defamatory statements made about my clients by Columbine Country Club and a number of individuals associated with the club,” Groen added. “The Adamses will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to rebuild their lives and reputations in the coming months.”
The judge’s order closes the Adamses’ case, which began when the couple sued the CCC in September 2021. They didn’t seek readmission into the club, only copies of the complaints against them. The CCC argued the Adamses were not entitled to them and would use the documents to exact revenge on club members who complained about them.
In June, Arapahoe County District Court Judge John Scipione sided with the Adamses and ordered the club to turn over the records. Scipione also took the club to task, writing that it had “ambushed” the Adamses with two-year-old allegations and “effectively rigged” its disciplinary process because it “was on a mission to rid the CCC of” the Adamses.
In that June 8 decision, Scipione also ordered the country club to pay the Adamses’ attorney fees but the club challenged that portion of the decision. Its attorney argued that because the CCC was acting in good faith when it withheld documents it earnestly didn’t believe the Adamses had a right to, the club shouldn’t have to pay attorney fees.
But King determined Friday that the CCC was not acting in good faith.
“The defendant was required by Colorado law and its own membership rules and bylaws to follow a specific procedure when imposing discipline on its members,” he wrote. “It utterly failed to do this and then refused to provide any documentation, as it was required to do.”
Meanwhile, the club is still defending itself against a lawsuit by another removed member.
James Battaglia, 53, sued the club July 22. The son of a former CCC president is seeking readmission and documents. Battaglia was removed for not paying dues that he doesn’t believe he had to pay, according to him and the CCC. The case is ongoing.
The country club is represented by attorney Carrie Johnson with the Denver law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. She did not respond to a request for comment.