Law firm, landlord settle suit over Durant Mall construction | AspenTimes.com

Law firm, landlord settle suit over Durant Mall construction

A legal dispute between a law firm and its landlord over construction-fueled noise at the Durant Mall in Aspen has been settled.

Court papers filed last week in Pitkin County District Court, the venue for Whatley Kallas LLP's suit against CCI-Aspen, show that the parties have reached a joint settlement, the terms of which were not available Tuesday.

The agreement comes after Whatley Kallas sued CCI-Aspen, the owner of a combined 23 commercial units and parking spaces at the Durant Mall, over construction the firm claimed made it impossible to do business.

Durant Mall is located next to City Market.

Whatley Kallas had sought a refund of its $10,000 security deposit that it said its landlord withheld, along with other damages including the cost of the firm's relocation. The national health care firm, which has its administrative offices in Birmingham, Alabama, had leased two units in Durant Mall since October 2013, and renewed it in September 2016 through Oct. 31, 2019, according to the complaint.

It left its space, however, on Dec. 29, due to the hassles associated with the construction.

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"Over the fall of 2017, the 'challenges' became progressively worse and intolerable," the suit said. "On November 28, 2017, (the law firm) came to work to find the units completely flooded, along with debris and contamination throughout. Debris and dust covered the desks, computers, equipment and records. Contractors were drilling a hole in the units. Extensive clean-up work was required. Use of the units was yet again impossible."

In a counterclaim filed May 18, CCI-Aspen alleged Whatley Kallas breached its contract by failing to make good on lease payments. CCI-Aspen also said that the firm was contractually obliged to pay a fee of $9,749 to terminate its lease, according to its formal response to the suit. The firm made that payment, but alleged that CCI-Aspen applied that to what it owed in back rent. Additionally, the landlord said it was not liable for any inconveniences tied to the construction.

Peter Thomas, the attorney for CCI-Aspen, and Joe Whatley Jr., a partner at the firm, did not return telephone messages Tuesday.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com