Recently, you may have read an article in The Durango Herald about a lawsuit filed by an individual named Christopher Chavez. In September 2015, Mr. Chavez filed a complaint in federal district court against the defendants, GRVP, LLC, Patrick Morrissey, Senior Vice President of the Growth Fund Real Estate Group, and Tom Shipps, attorney for GRVP, LLC. GRVP, LLC is an entity managed by the Southern Ute Growth Fund that has developed Three Springs, a community outside the exterior boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Contrary to the headlines in The Durango Herald, the Growth Fund has not been named in that lawsuit and neither has the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
In response to Mr. Chavez’s first complaint, GRVP, LLC, Mr. Morrissey, and Mr. Shipps asked for clarification of Mr. Chavez’s claims. The Court agreed that his complaint did not explain what the defendants had allegedly done wrong, when they did it, or how they had injured Mr. Chavez. Unless the lawsuit papers describe those basic items, there is no opportunity for a fair defense or “due process.” Since then, Mr. Chavez has been given several opportunities to comply with these minimal requirements.
Mr. Chavez appears to seek compensation for issues relating to his contractor’s termination of his subcontract for construction work in Three Springs. He has requested $15 million to remedy the harm he allegedly suffered. Mr. Chavez has cited several federal and tribal laws to support his claims. Arguing that there is no connection between Mr. Chavez’s factual allegations, the cited legal authority, and the parties named as defendants, in December 2015, GRVP, LLC, Mr. Morrissey, and Mr. Shipps filed a motion asking the presiding judge to dismiss Mr. Chavez’s complaint. The judge has yet to rule on this motion.
Because it is not a party to the case, the Tribe has had little involvement in Chavez v. GRVP, LLC, but the Growth Fund’s attorneys and the Tribe’s Legal Department will monitor the case closely while they wait for the judge’s decision on the motion to dismiss.