Meet our Attorneys

Valerie M. Sullan

Of Counsel

 

 

 

 

 

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 coauthored 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 coauthored 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.

 

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

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