HLF Attorneys: Patrick Q. Hustead

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Patrick Q. Hustead


atrick started The Hustead Law Firm to create something extraordinary: a high energy law firm committed to defining the cutting edge of litigation. He was formerly a partner in one of Denver’s largest silk-stocking law firms, is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and all the standard trappings. What is not standard is his singular focus when it comes to perfection in civil litigation. Trials and appeals.

Complex litigation is the primary focus of Patrick’s practice. As any real trial lawyer will tell you, the subject of the case is essentially irrelevant; the key to being an effective litigator is the advocate’s tactical acuity and willingness to engage in battle. It’s for this reason that Patrick has litigated a wide variety of cases. Early in Patrick’s career, his practice was focused on a variety of commercial disputes, from employment to real estate to banking. At this point he is best known for his depth of experience in insurance and surety related litigation of all kinds, from simple bond defaults and catastrophic injury cases, to complex construction disputes and multi-million dollar class actions.

Patrick’s particular forte is trying cases and winning them. He has successfully tried to juries numerous liability and bond related cases, including all those listed in the “HLF Cases” section of this website. Key to Patrick’s effectiveness is his grip on the law as evidenced by his well-established appellate practice. He has over 70 published opinions in six states. He has made several arguments to the Colorado Supreme Court, including the often cited Union Insurance v. Houtz.

Patrick’s trial work has included wins in many different types of cases. A sampling: 1) a complex, month-long jury trial in U.S. District Court, defending a construction surety on a $5,000,000 default and bad faith claim, where not only were all claims defeated, but an affirmative counterclaim was awarded against the obligee in the amount of approximately $6,000,000; 2) opposed by three of the largest law firms in the nation, Patrick acted as lead counsel for certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London in a dispute exceeding $100,000,000; 3) a complex bad faith action before a jury in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado; 4) an oil and gas trial in U. S. District Court stemming from one of the largest class actions in the history of Colorado; 5) a ten-week complex construction dispute that was the longest arbitration in the history of AAA Colorado. In another two-year period, Patrick spent over 16 weeks in various trials, from complex tort actions involving everything from fraud to brain injuries, to multi-million dollar construction claims. In one of the latter cases, the Plaintiff sued for over $30,000,000, but ended up being ordered to write Patrick’s client a check for several million dollars.

A recent jury trial was a three-week contract surety case in U. S. District Court. The obligee claimed it was owed $4,700,000. The affirmative claim back against the obligee was over $5,000,000. The affirmative claim was a winner, and a verdict came back against the obligee for $4,100,000. Again, it was a total win for his client.

In a trial it is a “win” if the verdict puts your client in a better position than what could have been achieved by accepting the opposition’s best settlement offer. From this viewpoint, Patrick has never lost a case. Not many trial lawyers can say that.

The key? Trying the winners and settling the losers. The problem? Knowing the difference. Patrick’s clients hire him because he accurately evaluates potential outcomes, time after time, which puts his clients in the power seat, whether they are suing or being sued. Please see his roster of blue-chip clients listed in the “HLF Profile” section of this website.

Patrick’s background is particularly suited for a Rocky Mountain practice that often involves the small town. He was born on January 27, 1959 in Wall, South Dakota, where his family owns and operates the world-famous Wall Drug Store, and he grew up branding cattle at his friends’ ranches in the badlands of the adjacent Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He is the youngest of seven in one of the handful of Irish Catholic families in the area, and is also a Mayflower (1620) descendant on his Grandmother’s side and a descendant of Robert Husted who immigrated to America from England in 1635. His direct ancestors participated in every major American war, including the American Revolution. His GGGF John Murphy fought with the Irish Brigades in the Civil War and died in battle at Antietam.

He received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Colorado in 1981. Prior to attending law school, Patrick roughnecked on oil rigs on Alaska’s North Slope and the Santa Barbara Channel, and completed post-graduate work at the University of Paris at the Sorbonne in 1984. He received a J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School in 1987.

Active in the ABA, Patrick is a Vice-Chair of the Fidelity and Surety Law Committee.  He was Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Extra-Contractual Liability Surety Subcommittee of the American Bar Association's Torts and Insurance Practice Section’s Fidelity and Surety Law Committee from 2004-2014.  He was Co-Chair of the Miscellaneous Surety Subcommittee from 1994-2002.  He is also a member of the National Bond Claims Association, the Surety Claims Institute, the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, the Wyoming Defense Lawyers Association, the Defense Research Institute and the American Bar Association, Professionals', Officers' and Directors' Liability Law Committee.

Patrick has authored several nationally and internationally distributed publications. Recent publications include:

  • Surety Is Not Insurance: Helpful Hints to Edify a Judge. Pearlman Institute, 2016.
  • Insurance Bad Faith, A Compendium of State Law: Nebraska and New Mexico: 2015.
  • Navigating Extracontractual Insurance Claims: Legal Standards.  ABA 2015.
  • Appleman on Insurance, Lexis Nexis, 2014.
  • Good Faith and Fair Dealing: Rocky Mountain Handbook 2014.
  • The “Economics” of Suretyship: Economic Waste as a Practical Consideration for Limiting the Surety’s Performance Bond Liability. ABA Fidelity and Surety Law Newsletter, 2013.
  • The Surety Underwriter's Handbook. ABA, 2013.
  • Surety Claim Specialist Regulation and Licensing: State-By-State Analysis 2013.
  • The Law of Commercial Surety and Miscellaneous Bonds. American Bar Association, 2012.
  • The Law of Continuing Bad Faith: ABA Fidelity and Surety Law Newsletter: 2011.
  • Good Faith and Fair Dealing: Rocky Mountain Handbook: 2011
  • Insurance Bad Faith: Compendium of State Law. Defense Research Institute, 2010.
  • Payment Bond Manual, 3rd Edition. Published by the American Bar Association, Fidelity and Surety Committee, 2006.
  • The Fidelity and Surety Desk Reference Book. Published by the American Bar Association, Fidelity and Surety Committee, 2006.
  • The Law of Motor Vehicle Dealer Bonds. Published by the American Bar Association, Fidelity and Surety Committee, 2006.
  • Insurance Bad Faith: Compendium of State Law, June 2004/2006. Defense Research Institute.

Patrick has lectured on a variety of insurance-related topics throughout the United States and overseas. These include:

  • National Bond Claim Association, Pinehurst, NC 2015.
  • ABA TIPS Insurance Practice Meeting, Philadelphia, PA 2015.
  • ABA Fidelity and Surety Meeting (Co-Chair), Louisville, KY 2014.
  • ABA TIPS Insurance Coverage Litigation Meeting, Phoenix, AZ 2014.
  • Surety and Fidelity Claims Institute, Chesapeake Bay, MD 2013.
  • ABA Fidelity and Surety Meeting, New York, NY 2013.
  • ABA Fidelity Meeting, Hartford, CT 2012.
  • ABA Fidelity and Surety Meeting, Hilton Head SC, 2012.
  • Central Claims Executive Association, Indianapolis, IN 2011.
  • Pearlman Institute, Seattle, WA 2011.
  • Defense Research Institute, Insurance Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability Seminar, Washington, D.C. 2011.
  • ABA Fidelity and Surety Meeting, New York, NY 2011.
  • The Law of Performance Bonds (ABA), San Diego, CA 2009.
  • ABA Mid-Winter meeting, New York, NY 2006.
  • ABA Fidelity and Surety meeting, San Francisco, CA 2004.
  • National Bond Claim Association, Pinehurst, NC 2004.
  • International Association of Defense Counsel’s Trial School, New York, NY 2002.
  • Surety Association of America’s Congressional Surety School, Washington D. C. 2001.
  • ABA Fidelity and Surety Law Committee New York, NY 2001.
  • Surety Claims Institute, Atlantic City, NJ 1997.
  • National Bond Claims Association, Pinehurst, NC 1995.

Patrick also frequently gives private seminars to insurers and bonding companies on a variety of topics, from the relationship between surety bonds and insurance, to the nuts and bolts of bad faith.

With a regional practice in the Rocky Mountains, Patrick is a member of the state and federal bars of:

  • Colorado
  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota
  • North Dakota

Patrick is also a member of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the United States Supreme Court. Patrick has handled numerous litigation and/or insurance related matters in all of the foregoing jurisdictions, as well as Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

badlandsPatrick met his wife, Monica, at Boston College. Four kids later, he stays sane by exercising daily. When there is free time, Patrick enjoys books, guitars, hunting, fishing and bullfights. After growing up in the Western American rodeo culture on the “Wall” of the Badlands National Park, Patrick gravitated to its European cousin, the Spanish bullfighting world. Many of his close friends live in Spain and Patrick has been a regular participant in the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona for the past four decades.

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