FORT MORGAN, Colo. - Students of the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law are suing to block the foreclosure of a mobile home park that they say would evict dozens of families.
According to DU spokesman Chase Squires, the students behind the suit are part of Denver Law’s Environmental Law Clinic, working under the guidance of Professor Michael Harris. Their lawsuit was filed in Larimer County on Tuesday.
Squires said the legal motion is designed to delay a complicated foreclosure process that would shut down the Wayward Wind Mobile Home Park, located in Fort Morgan along I-76, and evict more than 30 residents.
According to a copy of the lawsuit provided by Squires, the owners of the mobile home park have not fixed problems, including several potholes and unsafe drinking water. Instead, the owners are allegedly trying to terminate leases and force residents to leave.
The water at the mobile home park has allegedly been unsafe to drink or cook with for at least two years. The suit said the water is tainted with uranium, nitrate and other contaminants.
"Due to the contaminates in their drinking water, the residents have been forced to rely on bottled water and have even had to fill jugs with water from a local gas station’s outdoor pump," the student lawyers wrote in a letter.
The letter goes on to say that residents report children have become ill after bathing or showering in the contaminated water.
The DU attorneys argue that many residents face financial hardship because they own the mobile homes but cannot afford to relocate them.
"Not only are these evictions to occur during the holiday season, the residents have little means to move," the lawsuit said. "Many have invested their hard-earned savings into purchasing and improving their mobile homes."
The letter said that residents have had difficulty communicating with the management of the mobile home park and that management has changed frequently. The changes have led to confusion over who was in charge and whether the park was going to close.
"Instead of addressing these problems, the landlord chose to place the property in foreclosure," the law students' letter said.