Louise Roselle is co-lead class counsel for a class of 12,000 plaintiffs who owned real estate around the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver, Colorado in 1989. On June 7, 1989, the FBI raided the plant and unearthed evidence of environmental crimes. The plant’s neighbors saw their property values plummet and filed suit. Fifteen years later, the Cook v Rockwell jury trial began in the United States District Court in Denver in October 2005. The trial concluded on February 14, 2006. The trial resulted in a $928 million judgment for the plaintiffs which included $177 million in compensatory damages, $200 million in punitive damages, and $549 million in prejudgment interest. Louise Roselle, along with the other members of the trial team, received an award in 2009 from Public Justice as a Trial Lawyer of the Year in honor of the outstanding contribution to the public interest through her work on this case. After an initial reversal in 2010, on June 23, 2015, a decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to the District Court. The opinion stated that the District Court “should proceed to judgment on the existing nuisance verdict promptly.”
Judge Gorsuch, writing for the majority, wrote that:
We can well understand why the plaintiffs on remand renounced a new trial and sought entry of a judgment based on the existing nuisance verdict. Indeed without some specific mandate or identified error requiring so much we can imagine only injustice flowing from any effort to gin up the machinery of trial for a second pass over terrain it took fifteen years for the first trial to mow through. Injustice not only in the needless financial expenses and the waste of judicial resources, but injustice in the human costs associated with trying to piece together faded memories and long since filed away evidence, the emotional ordeal parties and witnesses must endure in any retrial, the waste of work already performed by a diligent and properly instructed jury, and the waiting – the waiting everyone would have to endure for a final result in a case where everyone’s already waited too long, longer even than the lives of today’s college graduates.