The Billings Gazette reports that the city of Billings, frustrated by the fact that the Rehbergs have neither served a lawsuit nor continued dialogue about a settlement, filed a formal response to the frivolous suit:
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.
Even someone who works at 47 North Communications probably understands why Rehberg wants to delay pursuing this claim. It might just be a political liability to sue the largest city in the state and its first responders during a Senate race.
From the outset, it’s been clear that the Rehbergs want a quiet, hopefully confidential settlement. Let’s hope that the City of Billings continues to defend itself against its cash poor Representative, who is displaying his typical ethics as the case stagnates:
Because the lawsuit sat dormant for so long, Braukmann said, the city has not been "entitled to information through formal discovery," the process that allows attorneys to gather information from the other side.
And because the city is bound by state laws regarding public records, it is at a disadvantage, Braukmann said. While the city must provide public records when requested, the Rehbergs have no such obligation and the city has been unable to collect information or take sworn statements from witnesses, Braukmann said.