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Trial pitting Bowlen sisters vs. Broncos trustees vacated days before opening statements

The July 12 trial in Arapahoe County District Court pitting the two oldest children of late Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and the trustees he appointed to carry out his estate plan is off. Again. And maybe for good.

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Next month’s trial before Judge John E. Scipione was scheduled to hear complaints by Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace, who believe their father did not have the capacity to sign his estate-planning documents and was unduly influenced by trustees Joe Ellis, Rich Slivka and Mary Kelly.

But in a brief provided to The Denver Post on Tuesday night, Scipione signed a “joint motion to stay proceedings and vacate trial.”

Scipione granted the motion by lead attorneys Dan Reilly (trustees) and Giovanni Ruscitti (Bowlen sisters).

What does this mean?

Nobody from the defendants or plaintiffs would comment and the Broncos also declined to provide a statement.

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A “stay” means the parties want to halt the proceedings at this point and not continue right now. “Vacated” means the court has simply cleared the trial dates that had been scheduled.

“They’re putting a pause on litigation,” said Nick Klimas, a Denver estate attorney, in a phone interview.

Klimas said it’s “very possible” the sides are close enough to a settlement agreement that they felt confident to tell Scipione.

If a settlement is imminent, Klimas isn’t surprised that nobody from either side is commenting.

“Most settlement agreements have confidentiality clauses and one of this size would probably have several clauses, gag orders, no comments, no publication sections to it,” he said.

This story will be updated.

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