WILLIAM E. ZIMSKY
EDUCATION, LICENSURE & COURT ADMISSION
1983 graduate of Tulane University School of Law (1983)
Licensed in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana and New Mexico
Bill’s practice is primarily focused on oil and gas matters, including not only title opinions, but also litigation involving: operating agreements; foreclosure of liens; title issues; contamination from holding tanks; correlative rights; spacing and forced pooling issues; and federal Indian law. Bill also represents oil and gas companies before the Bureau of Land Management, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, as well before local regulatory bodies. Bill was involved in the formation of the La Plata County Energy Council in 1996, a nonprofit trade organization that promotes safe and responsible oil and natural gas development in La Plata County. Bill also practices election law, litigates civil rights actions, including protection of private property rights, and class action cases.
Bill recently prevailed in a published decision at the Tenth Circuit against the BLM regarding access to oil and gas facilities that produce both fee and Federal or Indian minerals under a communitization agreement, but which are located on private land. The Tenth Circuit held that the BLM lacked the statutory and regulatory authority to require the operator and the private landowner to provide the BLM with a key to the landowner’s locked gates or to allow the BLM to install its own locks on the gates to such lease sites.
Bill and Lon Abadie represented an operating company in an access dispute with a private landowner in a case that established the principle in Colorado that an oil and gas lessee has standing to maintain a prescriptive easement claim against a surface owner. Bill prevailed in a case of first impression before the Colorado Supreme Court that established that the Colorado Constitution recognizes partial regulatory takings. He has also successfully prosecuted several civil rights cases, including a case that established the rule in the Tenth Circuit that excessive force may occur even when a victim does not suffer any physical contact or injury (unnecessarily deploying a SWAT team and, among other things, pointing a gun at a young child). In an important campaign finance case, Bill successfully argued before the Tenth Circuit that Colorado’s campaign finance laws violated the right of equal protection under the laws of supporters of independent and minor party candidates forcing the General Assembly to amend Colorado’s campaign finance law. In addition, Bill has been appointed class counsel in several class action cases, including a products liability case that resulted in a settlement of more than $300 Million awarded to homeowners who installed a defective radiant heating hose manufactured by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Bill spent the first ten years of his legal career focused primarily on practicing communications law before the Federal Communications Commission.
Bill is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (1979) and Tulane Law School (1983).
Bill is a volunteer firefighter and EMT-IV for the Fort Lewis Mesa Fire Protection District. He was the District’s Firefighter of the Year in 2018. Bill is a member of the Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association, and the Durango Gun Club. Bill served a five-year term on the Judicial Nominating Commission for the Sixth Judicial District of Colorado and served in the posts of President, Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer of the Southwest Colorado Bar Association over a three-year period. He served for nine years on the City of Durango’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, was a member of the United Way Board of Southwest Colorado Board of Directors, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Durango Running Club for several years. He has completed one ironman distance triathlon and more than ten marathons, including the Boston Marathon.
REPRESENTATIVE REPORTED CASES
Maralex Resources, Inc. v. Barnhardt, Case No. 17-1421 (10th Cir., Jan. 18, 2019); Riddle v. Hickenlooper, 742 F.3d 922 (10th Cir. 2014); Elm Ridge Exploration Co., LLC v. Engle, 721 F.3d 1199 (10th Cir. 2013); Holland v. Harrington, 268 F.3d 1179 (10th Cir. 2001); Aeronautical Radio, Inc. v. FCC, 928 F.2d 428 (D.C.Cir. 1991); In re Reapportionment of the Colorado General Assembly, No. 11SA282 (Colo. 2011); In re: Parental Responsibilities of L.S., 257 P.3d 201 (Colo. 2011); Animas Valley Sand & Gravel, Inc. v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 38 P.3d 59 (Colo. 2001); Maralex Resources, Inc., 2014 COA 5, 320 P.3d 399 (Colo.App.2014); Louisiana Cablevision v. Louisiana Public Service Comm’n, 482 So.2d 715 (La. App. 1985); Baker v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 38 F.Supp.3d 59 (D.C.Colo. 1999); Algreg Cellular Engineering, 7 FCC Rcd 8686 (ALJ 1992), aff’d., Algreg Cellular Engineering, 9 FCC Rcd 5098 (Rev. Bd. 1994), rev’d, 12 FCC Rcd 8148 (FCC 1997).