‘Miami Vice’ star in legal battle with lender | AspenTimes.com

‘Miami Vice’ star in legal battle with lender

Rick CarrollAspen, CO Colorado

A federal judge has dismissed two claims in Don Johnson’s lawsuit against a lender the former “Miami Vice” star is suing for allegedly forcing him to sell his Woody Creek ranch.U.S. District Judge Walker D. Miller threw out Johnson’s claims that New York-based D.E. Shaw Laminar Lending violated the Truth in Lending Act and the Colorado Uniform Consumer Code. The judge, however, allowed nine of Johnson’s claims to survive, in response to D.E. Shaw’s motion to dismiss the entire lawsuit. The judge also denied D.E. Shaw’s motion to transfer the suit to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Judge Miller’s ruling, made earlier this month, was the latest development in the legal battle over Johnson’s former ranch. In April 2006, Johnson sued D.E. Shaw in the U.S. District Court in Denver, alleging it engaged in “unlawful lending practices” when it loaned Johnson $10.6 million in August 2004. The suit came just days after Johnson paid off that loan, using $14.5 million of the $15.75 million he received when he sold his 17-acre property.By paying off the loan Johnson saved his ranch from going to a foreclosure sale, which Johnson’s lawsuit claims D.E. Shaw tried to spearhead after the former Sonny Crockett had reneged on the loan.

Court documents filed by D.E. Shaw argue that the case belonged in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, because the two Johnson-controlled LLCs that owned the home filed for Chapter 11 protection. The thrust of D.E. Shaw’s argument was the case belonged in bankruptcy court because the $10.6 million it lent to Johnson’s LLCs was to help them exit from bankruptcy by paying off such creditors as Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen liquor store Of Grape & Grain, and Aspen’s Isberian Rug Co., among others.But in his ruling, Judge Miller determined that the trial court is the appropriate venue, chiefly because the LLCs’ bankruptcy proceedings have concluded.”In its current posture, this is a straightforward breach of contract case based on Lender’s alleged conduct after the close of the bankruptcy proceedings, which is appropriately heard in this court,” Judge Miller wrote in an 11-page decision, dated July 3.

Attorneys for both sides were unavailable for comment Friday.Rick Carroll can be reached at rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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