Thomas S. Rice
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Thomas S. Rice

Of Counsel


  • Governmental Entity Defense
  • Employment Litigation
  • Civil Rights Law
  • Products Liability Litigation


University of Colorado
Year degree obtained: 1979
Honors: Phi Delta Phi Honor Society


University of Michigan, B.A. – Economics
Year obtained: 1976
Honors: With Distinction; James B. Angell Scholar; School of Economic Honors Program


Mr. Rice recently led a team of attorneys from the Denver Water Board in successfully turning back efforts by a consortium of subrogated claimants who sought to convert a wrongful fire tort claim into a constitutional taking. Working collaboratively with attorneys from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and a variety of interested non-parties who filed amicus briefs, Mr. Rice argued for the appellees in the Colorado Court of Appeals. The case grew out of the 2012 Lower North Fork Fire that originated on land owned by Denver Water during fire mitigation efforts being conducted by the Colorado State Forest Service. The ensuing wildfire resulted in the destruction of hundreds of acres of land and associated structures and millions of dollars in property damage claims. The appeals court rejected the claimants’ assertion that the governments’ actions constituted an inverse condemnation. The court accepted Denver Water’s argument that the fire did not manifest any public purpose. The decision in American Family Insurance Company v. American National Property and Casualty Company can be found at –P.3d–, 2015WL5607602 (Sept. 24, 2015). The matter is currently pending before the Colorado Supreme Court on petition for writ of certiorari.

Other notable cases include:

Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005)
Estate of Larsen, 511 F.3d 1255 (10th Cir. 2008)
Cordova, 569 F.3d 1183 (10th Cir. 2009)
Garcia-Martinez, 392 F.3d 1187 (10th Cir. 2004)
City of Arvada, 19 P.3d 10 (Colo. 2001)
Gilbert, 725 P.2d 774 (Colo. 1986)

Jorgensen – SWAT team excessive force claim – defense verdict (9/08)
Garcia – police shooting death – defense verdict (8/07)
Franco – ADA discrimination – defense verdict (2/06)


  • Best Lawyers in America in municipal law/litigation – 2008-present
  • Colorado Super Lawyers in defense litigation – 2008-present
  • American Board of Trial Advocates – 2008-present
  • In 2015, Mr. Rice was elected to the board of directors in an officer-track position with the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association. He currently holds the position of Secretary and will serve as President during the 2018-2019 term. He served as an At-Large Director with the CDLA from 2013-2015.
  • In 2015, Mr. Rice was also appointed to the United States District Court’s Committee on Conduct for a six year term.
  • Frequent public speaker and CLE instructor on constitutional law and trial tactics topics
  • Leads Senter Goldfarb & Rice, L.L.C. in-house CLE trial practice programs


Sheileen O’Hayre