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Stephen Masciocchi


555 17th Street, Suite 3200, Denver, CO 80202

Steve brings a fresh perspective and more than 30 years’ experience to bear in high-stakes class actions and appellate litigation.

Steve primarily assists clients with federal and state appeals and class actions. He co-chairs the firm’s Appellate Practice Group. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, one of only four attorneys in the State of Colorado to have been inducted into the Academy.

Depth of Experience: Steve has handled more than 150 appeals and has presented more than 60 oral arguments in civil appeals in state and federal appellate courts. He has represented clients in a wide array of civil litigation matters, including administrative, commercial, constitutional, employment, insurance, oil and gas, product liability, and real estate litigation.

Broad Range of Jurisdictions: Steve has litigated multiple Federal District Courts in the 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeals, and in the U.S. Supreme Court. He has appeared before state appellate courts in numerous states across the country.


Appellate Law

Steve represents clients in appeals in a wide range of subject areas and multiple jurisdictions. He writes and lectures frequently on appellate practice and procedure. He is the co-editor of The Colorado Lawyer Appellate Practice column.

Class Actions

Steve has significant experience representing defendants in complex class action litigation. Steve has compiled a remarkable record of success in convincing federal district courts to deny certification and appellate courts to vacate certification orders.

Legal Ethics

Steve represents attorneys in disqualification, grievance, and licensure matters, and he serves as an expert witness in legal ethics. He serves as Chair of Holland & Hart’s Ethics and Conflicts Committee.  He also sits on, and is the past Chair of, the Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee. He served as the Coordinating Editor of The Colorado Lawyer’s column on Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct for 14 years. 

Client Results

Amicus Briefs
  • In a precedent-setting case asking whether insurance adjusters may be sued for statutory bad faith, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed with our amicus client, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, and held that such claims may only be brought against an insurer, not an individual adjuster.

  • In case involving the migratory bird rule, the United States Supreme Court upheld our amicus client’s position that the Army Corp of Engineers improperly asserted jurisdiction over isolated, intrastate waters.

  • In a key case for Colorado’s oil and gas industry, the Colorado Supreme Court sided with our amicus client and declined to force the state oil and gas commission to adopt a rule requiring it to readjust its statutory mandate, under which it must both foster oil and gas production and mitigate significant environmental impacts.

  • In a seminal case involving Colorado’s new Teacher Tenure Act, the Colorado Supreme Court adopted our amicus client’s position on the act’s validity and rejected challenges to the Act under the Colorado Constitution’s Due Process and Contract clauses.

Bankruptcy Appeals
  • In a significant victory for our client and consumer lenders, the Tenth Circuit agreed that when a bankruptcy trustee avoids a lien, the remedy of avoidance is usually sufficient, and a money judgment against the creditor is neither required nor appropriate.

  • In an appeal from a bankruptcy court order interpreting a Chapter 11 plan involving a fund for future tort claimants, the federal district court agreed with our interpretation of the plan and its provisions for paying the future claimants.

Commercial Litigation Appeals
  • In a case of first impression, the Colorado Supreme Court reinstated our client’s claim for breach of a commercial rental contract and established that loss-of-use damages are recoverable under such contracts.

  • In a complex commercial dispute, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that a foreign guarantor was bound to the terms of its guaranty, affirmed a $6.7 million judgment for our client, and awarded appellate attorney fees.

  • In a dispute between an author and publisher, the Colorado Court of Appeals agreed that the author was not entitled to any royalties when his publishing contract was sold to another publisher.

  • In complicated commercial appeal, the Ninth Circuit upheld multimillion dollar tort, unfair business practice, and punitive damages awards against a large insurer, which failed to create or manage vehicle services contracts for our car dealer clients.

Employment Appeals
  • The Ninth Circuit affirmed a defense verdict in our employer client’s favor on wrongful discharge and retaliation claims and rejected the former employee’s instructional error and other arguments.

  • In a large class action involving fraud-based claims of employees who were terminated under a reduction-in-force, the Idaho Federal District Court denied class certification for lack of both typicality and predominance.

Environmental Appeals
  • In a complex NEPA matter involving an attempt by environmental groups to shut down drilling in the San Juan Basin, the Tenth Circuit affirmed an order in our clients’ favor denying plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction.

  • In post-trial motions after judgment involving a contract to remediate a Superfund site, the federal district court adopted our position that federal contract law, not Idaho law, governed whether the plaintiff was entitled to prejudgment interest, saving our client over $23 million.

Oil, Gas, and Mining Appeals
  • In a dispute between a pipeline company and a developer, the Tenth Circuit affirmed a judgment requiring the developer to incur the cost of relocating the pipeline to accommodate a new development.

  • In a significant appeal involving multi-million dollar mining royalty claims, the Ninth Circuit upheld summary judgment in favor of our client based on the doctrine of laches.

  • After agreeing to hear our two Rule 23(f) appeals, the Tenth Circuit vacated orders certifying large statewide classes of Kansas and Oklahoma royalty owners and determined that the lower courts failed to follow recent Supreme Court precedent in certifying the classes.

  • In two large punitive statewide class actions brought by oil and gas royalty owners in Colorado and New Mexico, the federal district court denied certification based on our arguments that the named plaintiffs failed to prove both commonality and predominance.

  • In a large punitive oil and gas royalty class action in New Mexico, the federal district court granted our motion for summary judgment and dismissed the named plaintiffs’ claims and thus obviated any class certification proceedings.

Real Estate Appeals
  • In a complicated, pipeline-construction case, the Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed an award of nearly $9 million for our client and rejected the appellant’s attempt to reinstate its approximately $20 million in counterclaims.

  • The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in our client’s favor in a commercial real estate dispute over funds in an escrow account and awarded our client appellate attorney fees.

Torts and Insurance Appeals
  • In a case of first impression, the Tenth Circuit affirmed summary judgment and upheld our client’s right to rescind a $3 million “key man” life insurance policy. The court agreed with our view of when an insurer becomes “chargeable with knowledge” of a fact concealed by the insured under unsettled Colorado law.

  • In two separate but related product liability cases involving defective heating hose, the Tenth Circuit affirmed large judgments for our clients and upheld prejudgment interest awards from the date of a defective product’s installation, which added almost $11 million to the judgments.

  • In an appeal involving an explosion that leveled a building, the Colorado Court of Appeals agreed that the trial had been infected by multiple evidentiary errors and reversed the $6 million verdict the jury had rendered against our client.



Speaking Engagements


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions


  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Fellow
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Appellate Practice, 2013-2023
  • Martindale-Hubbell©, AV Preeminent® Rating, 2002-2022
  • Colorado Super Lawyers®, Appellate, 2017-2022
  • 5280 Magazine Top Lawyers, Appellate, 2021, 2022

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • The Colorado Lawyer
    Professional Conduct and Legal Ethics Column, Coordinating Editor
    Appellate Practice Column, Co-Editor
  • American Bar Association
    Litigation Section, Appellate Practice Committee
  • Colorado Bar Association
    Ethics Committee
    Litigation Section, Appellate Practice Subcommittee
  • Denver Bar Association

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