Firm News

Two Colorado Law Firms Continue to Seek Justice for Victims of the Durango 416 Fire

By Burg Simpson

September 27, 2018  

The Durango law firm of DUTHIE SAVASTANO BRUNGARD has joined forces with the nationally recognized Colorado-based trial firm of BURG SIMPSON ELDREDGE HERSH & JARDINE to find justice for residents of Durango and Silverton who were affected by the 416 Fire and the devastating mudslides that followed. Both law firms are now seeking to hold the owner and management of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Company responsible for the damages and losses that resulted from the fire.

Bobby Duthie said, “I am partnering with shareholder Tom Henderson of Burg Simpson, a prominent Colorado firm to ensure that our clients and the communities of Durango and Silverton will have the best possible representation in this complex matter. We know the train is beloved in the Durango-Silverton area.  It is not our intent to put them out of business, but we believe the management of the train should be held accountable for the damages they caused, which could have easily been avoided had they acted sensibly.”

The lawyers from the 2 firms, presented community meetings at the Durango Arts Center on September 17th and 18th to address the citizens of the Durango-Silverton area who suffered damages or losses from the 416 Fire. Both firms set up the meetings to offer those in the community a chance to learn about how and why the fire started, and to help them to understand their rights and options according to Colorado law.

Now representing more than nearly a dozen citizens and businesses in the Durango-Silverton area, these firms have filed a lawsuit in the La Plata County District Court naming American Heritage Railways, The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Company, and its primary officer, Al Harper, as the parties responsible for starting the blaze.

“This case is about holding the parties that started the fire responsible for their careless actions,” said two-generation Durango attorney Bobby Duthie.  “Given my history here in Durango and my love for the railroad, the decision to initiate legal action was thoughtfully evaluated.  As I learned about the many fires the railroad started and its decision process to run a coal-fired steam locomotive during extreme drought conditions, I was moved to act, so my fellow La Plata County and San Juan County citizens and businesses could recover their losses from the responsible parties.”

Mr. Henderson and Mr. Duthie have stressed they have no intent to put the train out of business; that the intent of the lawsuit is to protect the community, not profit from it.

As Mr. Henderson stated during the community meetings in mid-September: “The train was around for decades before Mr. Harper and his family owned it, and hopefully will remain operating for decades after. As the current stewards of this cherished community asset, train management has the responsibility to operate it in a safe manner at all times.”

Mr. Henderson has said: “Our clients deserve to have train management take responsibility for the damages and losses their poor management decisions caused, and the communities deserve to have train management always operate with a safety first mentality.” “Train management is not entitled to a free pass from acting responsibly just because the train is such an important asset in the community.”

If this fire has left you or a loved one seriously injured, don’t try to handle it on your own. Call the office of Burg Simpson Colorado at 303-792-5595 so you can explain your situation to a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. Or you can complete our Free Case Evaluation Form right now.

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