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Oldest daughters lawsuit trial against Pat Bowlen trustees delayed

Judge Scipione said the trial can't be conducted in-person because of pandemic restrictions and inadequate technology.
Credit: KUSA
Amie Bowlen Klemmer (left) and Beth Bowlen (right)

DENVER — Judge John E. Scipione of Arapahoe County Court has delayed the civil lawsuit that pits the two oldest daughters of the late Pat Bowlen against the three trustees of Bowlen’s estate.

The trial had been set to begin September 1. Instead, lawyers on both sides are expected to reconvene with Judge Scipione in the next month or two to set a new trial date, which most likely would be in the spring of 2021.

Per a source, Judge Scipione delayed the trial for two reasons:

1. All parties agreed the trial could not be conducted in-person in light of the country’s and Colorado’s COVID-19 restrictions.

2. Judge Scipione does not believe WebX technology is adequate for this kind of trial.

Pat Bowlen was the Broncos’ owner from the time he bought the team in March 1984 until he was declared mentally incapacitated in December 2013, at which point the team’s ownership was placed in the Pat Bowlen Trust. Joe Ellis, Rich Slivka and Mary Kelly are the trustees. Ellis is also the Broncos’ chief executive officer and president, Slivka is the team’s long-serving general counsel, and Kelly had long served as the Bowlen family attorney.

Bowlen’s two oldest daughters from his first marriage, Amie Bowlen Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace, petitioned the Arapahoe County District Court and Judge Scipione to have the Pat Bowlen Trust invalidated on grounds their father lacked the mental capacity to sign his estate-planning documents in 2009. Bowlen died at the age of 75 in June 2019 from complications of Alzheimer’s.

The petition lists their late father’s trustees Ellis, Slivka and Kelly as the defendants.

Attorneys for both sides – the Bowlen daughters are represented by Giovanni Ruscitti and the trustees by Dan Reilly – have been conducting depositions before Judge Scipione for several weeks. Those depositions are still ongoing.

A potential appendage to the lawsuit is Beth Bowlen Wallace publicly announced on May 31, 2018 her desire to become controlling owner of the Broncos while the trustees have instead let it be known that her half-sister, Brittany Bowlen, is the preferred child to one day sit in her father’s chair at the team’s UCHealth Training Center headquarters.

If the Bowlen children don’t unanimously agree on Brittany, Ellis has said he would likely have to sell the team.

RELATED: Ellis talks Brittany Bowlen, ownership succession

RELATED: Ellis says Broncos could be sold if Bowlen children don't approve Brittany as father's successor