A lawsuit accusing the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad of starting the 416 Fire that burned more than 54,000 acres this summer may be put on a brief hold, or a stay of proceedings, District Judge William Herringer said Thursday.
Herringer spoke with attorneys for the defense and the plaintiffs for about 40 minutes Thursday in his chambers, likely discussing a number of pleadings that have been suppressed, meaning only lawyers and the court may view them.
Two attorneys who appeared with the plaintiffs and are familiar with the case said they were under court order not to talk about the purpose of Thursday’s hearing.
It is unknown why Herringer is considering halting further legal proceedings.
Both parties agreed that pleadings in the case, if made public, could result in an unfair trial for either party, Herringer said from the bench. The court found that under the circumstances, the “procedural posture” of this case is such that a stay, or brief freeze of the case, may be ordered.
Dick Waltz, an attorney representing the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Co., declined to comment. Bobby Duthie, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said if Herringer issues a stay, it should be brief, although he did not specify a timeframe.