Person Photo
Person Photo

Stephen Masciocchi

Partner

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

Steve Masciocchi brings more than 25 years’ experience to bear in high-stakes trial and appellate litigation.

Steve primarily assists clients with federal and state appeals and class actions. He is the past chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group.

Depth of Experience: Steve has handled more than 100 appeals and has presented more than 50 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, insurance, product liability, real estate, and oil and gas litigation.

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

Experience

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 also represents attorneys in disqualification, grievance, licensure, and other ethics-related matters. He sits on the ethics committees of the Colorado Bar Association and the Firm, and he has chaired both committees. He is the Coordinating Editor of The Colorado Lawyer’s column on Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Client Results

Amicus Briefs
  • 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.

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.

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 and Gas 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.

  • 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.

Other Appeals
  • 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.

Real Estate Appeals
  • 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.

News

Publications

Speaking Engagements

Education

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America© Appellate Practice, 2013-2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell©, AV Preeminent® Rating, 2002-2017
  • Colorado Super Lawyers®, Appellate, 2017-2018

Professional and Civic Affiliations

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

Unless you are a current client of Holland & Hart LLP, please do not send any confidential information by email. If you are not a current client and send an email to an individual at Holland & Hart LLP, you acknowledge that we have no obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information you submit to us, unless we have already agreed to represent you or we later agree to do so. Thus, we may represent a party adverse to you, even if the information you submit to us could be used against you in a matter, and even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us.