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Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation v. Holland & Hart

Colorado Court of Appeals
851 P.2d 192 (Colo. Ct. App. 1992)


Facts

The Buell Development Corporation (BDC) (plaintiff) hired Holland & Hart (Holland) (defendant) as its attorney in a transaction involving the sale of Kings County Development Corporation (KCDC) stock to a KCDC stockholder, John Rocovich. As part of the transaction, BDC was to acquire from Rocovich a percentage of KCDC’s minerals if KCDC ever chose to distribute minerals to its stockholders. Holland drafted BDC’s option contract with Rocovich. KCDC distributed its mineral interests to its stockholders, and BDC sought to enforce its option. KCDC refused, claiming that the option violated the rule against perpetuities. BDC filed a legal-malpractice suit against Holland based on the drafting of the option contract, claiming negligence and breach of contract. Holland sought a pretrial ruling that the option contract in fact did not violate the rule against perpetuities. The trial court found that the rule against perpetuities applied and that the option contract violated the rule. The jury awarded BDC over $3 million in damages and over $2 million in interest. Holland appealed, arguing that the trial court had erred in its determination that the rule against perpetuities applied to BDC’s option contract.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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