OBP News

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC welcomes attorney Nathaniel Wallshein

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Nathaniel Wallshein joins the firm as a litigation associate. Before joining Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, Nate worked as a judicial fellow for the Honorable Norman D. Haglund. He most recently served as law clerk for the Honorable R. Michael Mullins of the Denver District Court.

“We are excited to bring a talented young lawyer like Nate to Northern Colorado and our firm,” says managing member Jennifer Lynn Peters. “Nate’s energy and passion for the law is infectious, and in the short time he has been with us he has already made a big contribution to our ongoing complex cases.”

Nate was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and he earned his J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School. During law school, he worked as a law clerk for the Office of the Solicitor at the U.S. Department of the Interior, and as a law clerk for the Office of Chief Counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy.  Nate also worked as a student attorney for the Natural Resources Law Clinic. There he represented a variety of organizations in litigation concerning Forest Service approval of two coal leases within the Thunder Basin National Grassland.

Nate is admitted to practice in Colorado and is a member of the Colorado Bar Association. His practice at the firm will focus on complex commercial litigation, probate litigation and appeals.

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Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC provides real estate law and business law services throughout Northern Colorado. OBP has 12 attorneys spread across its two offices in Greeley and Loveland. For more information, contact Nathaniel Wallshein at nwallshein@nocoattorneys.com or Jennifer Lynn Peters at jpeters@nocoattorneys.com or 970-330-6700 or visit www.nocoattorneys.com.

New federal water rule taps reservoir of angst

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By: John Kolanz

It is largely about perspective. Some say the new federal rule defining the reach of the Clean Water Act will pave “the road to a regulatory and economic hell.” Others see it as a rollback of current protections that fails to close loopholes that have made the nation’s waters vulnerable to destruction by developers, corporate agriculture and general industry. Like most politically charged issues, however, the truth is somewhere in between.

Once effective later this summer, the new rule will provide the framework by which the federal government decides what waters receive CWA protection. This fundamental aspect of the Act remains confusing and contentious 40 years after its passage.

CWA regulation often brings to mind images of a sewage-treatment plant or large industrial facility discharging effluent into a river. While the Act certainly covers such activities, its application is much more extensive. For example, the Act also can apply to discharges of rainwater and snowmelt or placement of materials such as dirt, sand or gravel (“fill”) into protected waters.

This latter component of the Act, often called “dredge-and-fill” or “wetlands” permitting, is the component likely to be most affected by the new rule. This permitting program often covers routine activities related to oil and gas production and distribution, road building, agriculture, and all aspects of development, including construction of the family home. Therefore, changes in the Act’s coverage can impact many routine business activities, particularly in a region of dynamic growth, such as Northern Colorado.

The stakes can be high. Activities impacting protected waters require permits that can be difficult and expensive to obtain. Some projects may be denied permits. Even when issued, a permit creates binding obligations with potentially severe penalties for noncompliance.

The new rule is an attempt to clarify the reach of the Act because of uncertainty created largely by two U.S. Supreme Court opinions and subsequent government guidance on how to implement the Act in the wake of those opinions. The uncertainty led to many case-by-case determinations of coverage, creating permitting delays and inconsistent application of the Act.

To achieve clarity and certainty, the new rule draws bright lines to automatically protect certain waters. In some cases, these lines are based on distance to other protected waters, as opposed to scientific evaluation. However, despite the goal of certainty, the new rule also creates a potentially complicated test for extending the Act’s protections to a “catch-all” category that will include many waters not now typically captured.

On the other hand, the new rule specifically excludes some waters that the Act would otherwise cover. Perhaps most significantly in Colorado, the new rule excludes certain irrigation ditches, artificially irrigated areas that would revert to dry land in the absence of irrigation, and water-filled excavations created incidental to construction or mining. Moreover, the new rule leaves in place existing permitting exclusions, including rather extensive exclusions related to agriculture.

Some industry groups have condemned the new rule as an inappropriate (and illegal) extension of the Act, and have threatened to file suit to challenge the rule. Environmental groups who think the new rule does not go far enough may pursue similar challenges. Legislation to limit or prohibit implementation of the new rule also is a possibility.

Often missing from hyperbolic exchanges regarding the new rule is acknowledgment of the expansive reach of the existing rule. While the Act currently protects “more-obvious” waters such as the South Platte River, it also extends to “less-obvious” waters such as many irrigation ditches and even meadows that appear dry for much of the year.

Because of its different approach to identifying covered waters, the new rule will change the playing field for the regulated community. Just how much is difficult to know until the new rule is applied. Some waters currently covered by the Act no longer will be included, while some waters not currently covered will be. How any given project will be impacted will depend on its own unique circumstances.

John Kolanz is a partner with Otis, Bedingfield & Peters LLC in Loveland. He can be reached at 970-663-7300 or via email at JKolanz@nocoattorneys.com.

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC welcomes paralegal Kristi Knowles

Kristi 120X150 2Born and raised in Sterling, Colorado, Kristi is the firm’s lead business and transactions paralegal and primarily supports attorney Fred Otis.  Kristi has 28 years of transactional and litigation experience in Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona.  She worked as the assistant to the managing partner of Arizona’s oldest and second largest law firm for seven years, and in that capacity assisted seller’s counsel in one of the largest real estate transactions in the state’s history.  Kristi also has extensive experience in civil litigation and jury trials.

“We are excited to bring a paralegal of Kristi’s caliber and with her extraordinary talents back to the firm,” says managing member Jennifer Lynn Peters.  “Her knowledge and skill will be a valuable resource to our real estate and business clients and our overall team.”

Kristi can be reached at kknowles@nocoattorneys.com or 970-330-6700.

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Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC provides real estate and business law services throughout Northern Colorado.  OBP has 12 attorneys serving its two offices in Greeley and Loveland.  For more information, please visit www.nocoattorneys.com.

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC welcomes attorney Shannan de Jesús

1Shannan de Jesús joins the firm as a litigation associate, after working for the Larimer County Justice Center for over four years. There, she worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Dave Williams (retired) and the Honorable Michelle Brinegar, assisting with numerous trials and cases involving claims of construction defects, dissolution of business, and others.

Before moving to Colorado, Shannan lived in the South and New England. She earned her J.D. and LL.M. in Intellectual Property from Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire (now the University of New Hampshire School of Law).  During her studies at FPLC, Shannan studied comparative intellectual property law at a summer program in Cork, Ireland; externed for the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office; and represented small businesses as a student attorney through the Intellectual Property Clinic.

After graduating from law school, she worked as a staff attorney for the First Circuit of Florida courts; as an attorney ad litem for Lawyers for Children America; and on various pretrial and real estate matters for firms in Florida. She is admitted to practice in Colorado and Florida.

Shannan recently served on the Parks, Recreation and Culture Advisory Board for the Town of Windsor, supports CASA of Larimer County and the Northern Colorado food banks, and looks forward to being more involved in the community. She is also a member of the Larimer County Women’s Bar Association, the Colorado Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

Her practice at Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC will focus on all areas of real estate and business litigation, with a focus on intellectual property issues.

Attorney Lee J. Morehead Graduates from Leadership Weld County

LeeJMorehead_120x150Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC is proud to announce that attorney Lee J. Morehead has successfully completed Leadership Weld County.  He formally graduated from the program on May 14, 2015.

Leadership Weld County was established in 1984 by the Greeley Chamber of Commerce. This program is designed to educate participants in economic, government, and community development as well as heighten the awareness of natural resource challenges facing Greeley and Weld County today.  The goal is to better equip participants for future leadership roles in the community.  This program was put in place to ensure that members of the Greeley and surrounding Weld County community continue to identify, educate, and motivate current and emerging leaders.

“Leadership Weld County is a truly wonderful program that all leaders in Weld County should attend; the leadership skills learned are truly invaluable,” says Morehead.  “It was a pleasure to meet and get to know all my fellow participants and I look forward to working with them again in the future.”

Mr. Morehead’s practice at Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC focuses on oil and gas, general business transactions, probate administration, employment law, and related litigation matters.

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC provides real estate and business law services throughout Northern Colorado.  OBP has 11 attorneys serving its two offices in Greeley and Loveland.

Greeley, Colorado – Attorney Timothy R. Odil named one of Colorado’s “Lawyers of the Year”

???????????Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC is proud to announce that attorney Timothy R. Odil was recently named one of Colorado’s “Lawyers of the Year” by Law Week Colorado

Odil was selected based on his excellent work on a variety of litigation matters and his demonstrated initiative and teamwork.  The prestigious honor, which Law Week announces annually in December, recognizes Colorado lawyers who have displayed legal excellence and made news throughout the year. Receiving this distinction as a “Lawyer of the Year” reflects the high level of respect Odil has earned among other leading attorneys in the community and in similar practice areas for his abilities, his professionalism, and his integrity. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as a “Lawyer of the Year,” making this award particularly significant.

Odil is a key member of the firm’s litigation team. His practice focuses on disputes among private parties as well as disputes with local, state, or federal government agencies. He handles complex commercial litigation and appeals, government and commercial contract negotiation and disputes, regulatory compliance, licensing, and rulemaking issues, as well as employment law matters.  As OBP Partner Jennifer Lynn Peters noted, “In addition to handling a large complex litigation caseload, Tim stepped into the firm in the midst of big change, and in a year helped us build our litigation department from two to six lawyers, and the firm from two to 11 lawyers. His mentorship of the younger associates on our litigation team and his pure legal ability were unmatched this year.”

High pressure litigation isn’t anything new to Odil who practiced with a large national law firm for 8 years before he returned to Greeley to join the newly formed Otis, Bedingfield & Peters. Within his first year of starting at OBP Odil had upward of 10 active trial matters, including the notable High Plains Library District trustee removal litigation, which received significant news coverage earlier this year.  Odil helped the High Plains Library District secure an injunction that blocked the removal of the District’s entire Board of Trustees. This case is particularly high-profile because it pitted members of a handful of Northern Colorado communities against one another in an effort to control the District’s policies, organizational infrastructure, and budgeting processes.

The firm congratulates Odil on this well-deserved honor.

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC advocates for individuals, businesses, and families in the Northern Colorado region. Our clients are landowners, business owners, business professionals, businesses of all sizes, and individual families in need of guidance or representation in court proceedings involving commercial real estate or business issues. OBP routinely handles matters in the areas of real estate law, business law, environmental law, oil and gas law, estate planning, commercial litigation, probate and trust litigation, appeals, and tax law. For more information, please visit www.nocoattorneys.com or contact Managing Partner Jennifer Lynn Peters at 970.330.6700.

Tim Odil Named a Lawyer of the Year

On December 15, 2014, Law Week Colorado named OBP commercial litigation attorney Tim Odil one of its Lawyers of the Year.  The honor is in recognition of Tim’s superior work this past year in both the trial court and the appellate court.  Congratulations Tim!

Read more at Law Week Online or check out our Facebook or Google+ page.

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC Welcomes Attorney Brandy Natalzia

Attorney Brandy Natalzia

Attorney Brandy E. Natalzia recently relocated to Northern Colorado from Florida.  She is a former judicial intern for the Honorable Jay Cohen of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Marcia Morales Howard of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.  Brandy graduated, cum laude, from the University of North Florida, where she obtained her bachelor of arts degree in communication.  She obtained her law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law, where she served as the managing editor of the Florida Coastal Law Review.

Prior to joining Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, Brandy was an associate attorney with a small law firm in Jacksonville, Florida, and worked as a legal project manager.  Prior to law school, she worked for a national homebuilder for whom she prepared and implemented a successful training program for new home sales and dealt exclusively with contract preparation and negotiation.

“We are excited to bring an attorney like Brandy on board,” says Timothy P. Brynteson, managing member of OBP’s Loveland office.  “Her background and experience will enhance our ability to serve the Northern Colorado business community.”

Brandy’s practice at the firm will focus on real estate and business transactions, including the preparation, review and negotiation of contracts and entity formation.

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC welcomes attorney Christian J. Schulte

ChristianSchulteAttorney Christian J. Schulte is a long-time resident of Greeley, and a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia where he was awarded the National Merit Scholarship. Christian received his law degree at the University of Colorado School of Law in 1997, where he was an Associate Editor of the University of Colorado Law Review.

Prior to joining Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, Christian was a Senior Deputy District Attorney in the Weld County District Attorney’s office. Over his nearly twenty years in criminal prosecution, he handled hundreds of criminal cases as the lead trial attorney, and he trained numerous other attorneys in criminal law and the art of trial practice. Most recently, he was assigned to prosecute white collar and other serious economic crimes, including mortgage fraud, embezzlement, securities fraud and financial crimes against at-risk adults, particularly the victimization of the elderly by those in a position of trust.

Christian has been a board member and board chair of A Kid’s Place, and a board member of Island Grove Treatment Center and North Range Behavioral Health. He has taught law enforcement, high school and college students, and the general public about constitutional law, attorney ethics, elder abuse, mortgage fraud and other topics.

“We are thrilled to have an attorney of Christian’s caliber join our litigation team. Christian’s trial experience and his previous focus on business issues and the financial exploitation of the elderly will serve our clients well,” says Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC managing member Jennifer Lynn Peters.

Mr. Schulte’s practice at the firm will focus on complex commercial litigation, probate litigation and appeals.

Northern Colorado law firms Bedingfield, LLC and Otis & Peters, LLC merge

Attorneys Fred L. Otis, Jeff Bedingfield and Jennifer Lynn Peters are excited to announce the merger of their firms effective October 1, 2014.  The combined firm, Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC, will be home to ten attorneys and ten support staff spread across the firm’s two offices in Loveland and Greeley

“This merger strengthens our business law presence with a team of attorneys who are perfectly aligned with us,” said managing member Jennifer Lynn Peters, who added:  “There are considerable synergies between the two firms.  We share a commitment to excellence, building personal relationships, and to Northern Colorado.  Combining will allow us to further that commitment and to serve our clients with exceptional efficiency.”

The combined firm will provide clients throughout Northern Colorado practical and solutions-based legal representation in real estate and business matters, including commercial litigation, appeals, employment, environmental, oil and gas, estate planning, business succession, and tax matters. 

“We have had long standing working relationships with Otis & Peters,” said member Jeff Bedingfield.  “We look forward to working together with them to offer our clients the added resources and expertise this merger brings.”

Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC will be home to the following attorneys:

Fred L. Otis, Member

Jeffrey T. Bedingfield, Member

Jennifer Lynn Peters, Member

Timothy P. Brynteson, Member

John A. Kolanz, Member

Michael D. Stewart, Of Counsel

Timothy R. Odil, Senior Associate

Lee J. Morehead, Associate

Myles S. Johnson, Associate

 

Attorney Christian J. Schulte, will join the firm as a senior associate on October 16, 2014.