Meet our Attorneys

Valerie M. Sullan

Of Counsel

valerie m sullan

Valerie Sullan was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1953. She attended the University of Colorado where she graduated cum laude in 1975. She then attended law school at the University of Southern Illinois, obtaining her degree and graduating cum laude in 1979. While in law school she was a member of the Board of Editors of the Southern Illinois University Law Journal and was President of the Moot Court Board. She was also a member of the National Order of Barristers and National Client Counseling Team.

After graduating from law school, Ms. Sullan clerked for the Honorable Ralph H. Coyte of the Colorado Court of Appeals. She has practiced civil litigation law in Colorado since 1979.

Ms. Sullan focuses on materials and construction defect (and related insurance coverage) litigation. She has been lead counsel in eleven different class-action suits against some of Colorado’s major homebuilders and product suppliers. She was lead counsel for a 1,600-person class of homeowners in a successful class action tried in Douglas County, Colorado, in 1996. She also has handled hundreds of construction defect cases involving a variety of subjects, including expansive and settling soils, landslides, faulty construction materials and products, architectural and engineering design defects, and improper construction.

Valerie Sullan has handled many of the largest and most important construction defect cases for Colorado homeowners since 1994. One Denver paper observed that: “some builders settled quickly after watching Sullan at work in 1996. During the trial, officials with Richmond Homes told Sullan they wanted to settle a separate class-action case she had filed on behalf of 12,300 Richmond homeowners. She tried Mission Viejo by day and negotiated with Richmond by night. In June 1996, Richmond agreed to pay Sullan’s firm $1.9 million and to spend tens of millions more to remedy problems.”

Ms. Sullan’s work led to the following news headlines in 2005:

  • “Builder Okays $39 Million End to Suit: largest settlement of construction defects lawsuit in Colorado history”
  • “Lawsuit Over Defects in Condos Resolved: D.R. Horton, the Texas-based home-building titan, has paid a record $39.5 million settlement to resolve a defective-construction lawsuit brought by condo owners”
  • “Firms Will Pay $32 Million to Settle Suit Over Windows”

In 2007, Ms. Sullan was the only Colorado lawyer who primarily represents homeowners and homeowner associations given the highest rating from Chambers & Partners, a legal publisher that described her as “the absolute best on residential construction defects.” In 2009 alone, Ms. Sullan was instrumental in securing more than $75 million in construction defect settlements for homeowner associations.

Ms. Sullan is one of Colorado’s best-known lecturers regarding construction litigation, and she has co-authored with Ron Sandgrund and Leslie Tuft the only books dealing exclusively with Colorado construction defect litigation, the most recent edition of which book received the 2011 National Award of Professional Excellence from the Association for Continuing Legal Education. She also has co-authored with Mr. Sandgrund a chapter on legal ethics and professional responsibility, last updated in 2011.

Ms. Sullan frequently presents continuing legal education courses to other lawyers. Ms. Sullan testifies often on behalf of homeowners before Colorado’s legislature, and she has helped draft laws affecting homeowner interests. Ms. Sullan was one of the driving forces behind House Bill 1338, the Homeowners Protection Act of 2007. She met with legislators, citizens and newspaper editors to answer their questions regarding the blanket waiver of legal rights that much of the residential building industry has been putting in home purchase contracts. House Bill 1338 limits such waivers and preserves for homeowners the basic legal rights the building industry agreed to when it lobbied for passage of the Construction Defect Action Reform Act in 2003. H.B. 1338 became Colorado law on April 20, 2007.

 

Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year 2020,” Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, Denver

Best Lawyers® in America, 2020

Colorado Super Lawyers®, 2020

Colorado, 1979

Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, 1979

University of Colorado, 1975, cum laude

Colorado Residential Construction Law (2nd ed. updating 2005 1st ed.) (Denver 2008), co-authored with Ron Sandgrund

Chapter 37, "Class Action Counsel's Professional Responsibilities," in Michael Mihm (ed.), Lawyers' Professional Liability in Colorado: Preventing Legal Malpractice and Disciplinary Actions (Denver, 2009 Supp), co-authored with Ronald M. Sandgrund

Chapter 14, "Residential Construction, in Robert Benson (ed.), Practitioner's Guide to Colorado Construction Law, (Denver 2007) (replacing 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005 editions), co-authored with Ron Sandgrund

Residential Construction Defect Litigation (Seattle 2000), co-authored with Ron Sandgrund

House Bill 10-1394: New Law Governing Insurance Coverage For Construction Defect Claims," The Colorado Lawyer, vol. 39, no. 8 (2010), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"Crossing the Separation of Powers Threshold: Legislative and Regulatory Control of Expert Witness Testimony," The Colorado Lawyer, vol. 37, no. 5 (2008), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"Useful Life Evidence in Construction Defect Cases," The Construction Lawyer (Amer. Bar Assoc. Forum on Construction), vol. 27, no. 3 (2007), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"The Homeowner Protection Act of 2007," The Colorado Lawyer, vol. 36, no. 7 (2007), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"Yacht Club II: Charting the Shoals of the Economic Loss Rule," Trial Talk, (August-September 2005), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund,

"Homebuilder Liability for Subcontractor Negligence - Part II," The Colorado Lawyer, vol. 34, no. 7 (2005), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"Homebuilder Liability for Subcontractor Negligence - Part I," The Colorado Lawyer, vol. 34, no. 6 (2005), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"Statutes of Limitations and Repose in Construction Defect Cases - Part II," The Colorado Lawyer, vol. 33, no.6 (2004), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"Statutes of Limitations and Repose in Construction Defect Cases - Part I," The Colorado Lawyer, vol. 33, no. 5 (2004), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"The Construction Defect Action Reform Act of 2003," The Colorado Lawyer, reprinted nationally in Mealey's Litigation Reports (Construction Defects), vol. 32, no. 7 (2003) and vol. 20 (2004), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

Duty to Disclose Latent Defects When Selling a Home, National Business Institute (2003), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

"The Construction Defect Action Reform Act," The Colorado Lawyer, vol. 30, no. 10 (2001), co-authored with Ronald Sandgrund

Recent Developments in Colorado Residential Construction Law, Continuing Legal Education of Colorado, 2008

"Construction Defect Litigation," CAI Fall Conference, 2004

"Construction Defect Claims in Colorado," Lorman Education Services, 2004

"Expansive Soils: Beyond the Basics," Construction Law Conference, CLE of Colorado, 2004

"Consumer Arbitration," University of Denver College of Law, 2004

"Construction Defect Action Reform Act of 2003," Colorado Municipal League, 2003

"Annual Spring Real Estate Update: Overview of Mold in Colorado," CLE in Colorado, 2003

"Construction Law and Litigation, Expansive Soils: Understanding the Risks, Litigation Strategies and Case Studies," CLE International, 2003

"Residential Construction, A Brave New World," CLE of Colorado, 2003

"New Construction Purchase Agreement: Getting Burned by the Boilerplate-Warranties, Disclaimers, Arbitration Clauses and Other Hot Spots," 19th Annual Real Estate Symposium, 2001

"From Construction Defects Through Reconstruction," CAI Fall Conference, 2000

"Sifting Through Soils Reports: How to Identify Issues Concerning Expansive Soils and Slope Stability," CLE of Colorado, 2000

"Getting the Best Results for Construction Litigants Through the Smart Use of ADR," CLE of Colorado, 1999-Present

"Colorado Construction Law," 1999

"The Real Truth About Mediation: A Mock Mediation with Commentary," CAI 1999

"Residential Construction Defects Attributable to Geologic Hazards," Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, 1998

"High Stakes Games-Construction Defect Claims," CAI Spring Conference, 1998

"Expansive Soils Cases," CAI, 1997

"Shifting Sands," 15th Annual Real Estate Symposium, 1997

"Expandable Soils: A Primer for Real Estate Lawyers," Real Estate Topical Luncheon, 1996

"The Mission Viejo Class Action: A New Perspective on Trying Mass Tort Claims," 1996

January firm-wide e-news

 January 17, 2020

Burg Simpson E-News: January 2020

Complex Business and Commercial Litigation, Construction Defects, Dangerous Drugs & Medical Devices, Mass Tort, Class Action, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, and Workers’ Compensation JANUARY 2020 E-NEWS GOOD LAWYERS Burg Simpson Names Three New Shareholders Paul D. Friedman Angela E. McGraw Jacob M. Burg Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine are pleased to announce that Paul… Read more »

 January 14, 2020

When Colorado Insurance Companies Get Special Breaks from the Courts

When Colorado Insurance Companies Get Special Breaks from the Courts In a recent Colorado law journal article, Burg Simpson lawyers Ron Sandgrund and Leslie Tuft question why Colorado insurance companies are still getting special breaks from the courts when those insurers mislead their insureds or fail to explain adequately why they are denying an insurance… Read more »

 January 8, 2020

5280 Magazine Names Denver’s Top Lawyers of the Year!

5280 Magazine Names Denver’s Top Lawyers of the Year!  Denver’s Top Lawyers 2020  is 5280 Magazine’s sixth annual list of the best attorneys in the region. The 5280 editors invited attorneys in the seven-county metro area to vote for the peers they respect most in 50 legal practice areas. Survey responses in hand, the 5280 team… Read more »

 January 7, 2020

The Burg Simpson Scholarship Essays Must Be Submitted by February 1st

THE BURG SIMPSON SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE IS RAPIDLY APPROACHING! The 1,500-word Burg Simpson Scholarship Essays Must Be Submitted by February 1st For the past several years, Burg Simpson has awarded college scholarships to the graduating high school seniors who won our essay competition regarding the importance of the civil jury system and how it is being… Read more »

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 December 9, 2019

Settling Commercial Litigation Cases

An out-of-court settlement is a legally-binding agreement between the parties to a lawsuit that effectively puts an end to the legal matter. A settlement resolves all disputes inherent in the lawsuit, and results in dismissal of the claims filed in court.  Sometimes a settlement will contain a requirement that other court orders be entered effectuating… Read more »

Holding Pharmaceutical Companies Responsible – Mass Tort | Dangerous Drugs & Medical Devices

 November 12, 2019

Holding Pharmaceutical Companies Responsible – Mass Tort | Dangerous Drugs & Medical Devices

Burg Simpson’s Colorado mass tort attorneys have represented thousands of people who have suffered serious side effects after taking dangerous medications or those who have been hurt by a defective product.  If you have suffered injuries related to a defective drug or medical device, contact the Burg Simpson mass tort team at 303-790-2525.

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 November 8, 2019

Bike Crash Safety Video – Burg Simpson Personal Injury

The personal injury attorneys at Burg Simpson help fellow bicycle enthusiasts understand how to protect their rights after a bike crash and stay safe on the roads. If you have been hurt in a bike crash and need help, reach out to us today by calling our office or filling out our online free case… Read more »

7th Annual Jeremy Bitner Memorial Run for the Fallen Officers Fund

 July 1, 2019

7th Annual Jeremy Bitner Memorial Run for the Fallen Officers Fund

The Jeremy Bitner Foundation was established in honor of Englewood Police Detective Jeremy Bitner. Detective Bitner lost his life in the line of duty on May 28, 2012, after being struck and killed by a vehicle while performing a traffic stop. Jeremy served the Englewood Police Department for 8 years and during that time was assigned… Read more »

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