By: Julia Deng
MIDLAND - Attorneys for the 17 plaintiffs suing Union Pacific for negligence stemming from the deadly November 2012 wreck demanded a mistrial Thursday morning, halting trial proceedings for the day.
They disputed previous rulings excluding evidence they had planned to present to the jury.
The relevance of a federal case they had hoped to cite in their arguments - Anderson v. Wisconsin Central Transportation Company (2004) - was also called into question during the call for a mistrial.
"I have never, in 33 years of practice, done this," said plaintiffs' attorney Steve Malouf, who told the court he had gotten "about three hours of sleep" agonizing over the case the previous night.
"Whatever the outcome, one party or the other is likely to appeal [if this is not declared a mistrial right now]," he went on to say.
Judge James Rush, the Ector County visiting judge presiding over the case, dismissed the 6-man, 6-woman jury for the remainder of Thursday.
Union Pacific attorneys told NewsWest 9 they are scheduled to meet in private this afternoon and trial proceedings will "likely" continue Friday morning with the jury present.
NewsWest 9 will have live televised coverage Thursday at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.