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Billings Gazette: City responds to Rehberg Ranch wildfire lawsuit

On October 5, 2011 the Billings Gazette reported:

 With settlement negotiations stalled, an attorney for the city of Billings has filed a formal response denying claims by Rehberg Ranch Estates alleging firefighters failed to properly contain a 2008 wildfire.

The unusual legal move in a lawsuit that has sat dormant in Yellowstone County District Court for more than a year is intended to “move the litigation forward,” said Billings attorney Michele Braukmann, who is representing the city.

The lawsuit, filed by Rep. Denny Rehberg and his wife, Jan, against the city on July 2, 2010, alleges that city firefighters breached their duty to protect the subdivision the Rehbergs own during the wildfire.

The fire broke out on July 2, 2008, and was quickly contained, but it flared again two days later and forced the evacuation of about 40 homes. The Rehbergs allege that the firefighters left the property too quickly and the fire damaged land that they planned to develop.

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