Smith awarded $960,000 in settlement and agrees to sell properties

Mark Smith (third from left) stands with his legal team outside of the federal court house in October after the jury ruled in his favor.
Mark Smith (third from left) stands with his legal team outside of the federal court house in October after the jury ruled in his favor.

Robert “Mark” Smith and the Town of Kremmling officially reached a settlement agreement last week in the civil case, Robert Mark Smith vs. Town of Kremmling. In the settlement, the Town of Kremmling agreed to pay a cash payment to Smith through his lawyers Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP COLTAF in the amount of $960,000 by February 14. The amount was not for punitive damages, but for claims of damages for personal injuries, attorney fees and costs.

The Town also agreed to release Smith from $25,936.00 in outstanding and existing water charges owed to the Town on various properties. Smith currently owns his home on the corner of Park Avenue and 11th Street, the Eagles Nest Mobile Home Park along Highway 40, and a residence on the corner of Central Avenue and 11th Street.

In return, Smith agreed to place his properties up for sale, noting that he would like to relocate to his home state of Arkansas. The Town agreed to pay for the cost of the appraisal which could reach to amounts of $15,000 for the properties. The Town did not agree to buy the properties but will try to find a purchaser. The court will then mediate the sales based on the appraisal.

The Town’s insurance, CIRSA, paid for the settlement. In the original judgment in the case the jury verdict stated Smith was to recover damages in the amount of $350,250 from Spade, Willson, and the Town of Kremmling jointly and punitive damages in the amount of $254,170 from Willson and $175,170 from Spade. The jury had found in favor of Smith and his use of force claim. On March 5, 2013 on a domestic welfare call, Smith asserted that the Kremmling Police Department planned to use excessive force against him. The jurors dismissed the allegations against Officer Robert Dillon, but found both Sergeant Willson and Chief Spade culpable for the use of force. During the incident, Chief Spade was off-duty at home, while Willson testified he tried to discharge a taser, but it failed to fire properly.

After the jury’s verdict, the Town of Kremmling filed post-trial motions for a new trial contending that both Willson and Spade were entitled to qualified immunity and the District court erroneously instructed the jury on use of force and supervisory liability; however, on January 24, Smith and the Town of Kremmling met with Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty, in Denver, Colo. at the United States Courthouse for settlement.

As part of the settlement, the judgment against Spade and Willson was dismissed and neither Willson nor Spade were required to make any payments personally.

For Smith, the settlement ends a feud that began nearly two decades ago over The Kremmling Mobile Home Park Ordinance which requires mobile home owners to purchase and install water taps at each mobile home. Smith believed the Town selectively enforced the ordinance and treated him unfairly. This led to perpetual conflict with the Town and the Kremmling Police Department and escalated in 2008 with Smith’s first lawsuits against the Town and confrontations with Town Trustees that resulted in harassment charges against Smith.