When a Federal Case is Made Out of Deaths

Stittleburg, Philip
August 2005
Fire Chief;Aug2005, Vol. 49 Issue 8, p28
Trade Publication
The article focuses on claims arising from fireground injuries or deaths, which are often based in tort law, involve workers compensation issues or both. However, in the case of Phillips v. District of Columbia et al., claims under 42 USC Section 1983 were added to the mix. Section 1983 provides, in part, that every person who, under color of any custom or usage of any state, including the District of Columbia, causes any citizen of the U.S. or person within its jurisdiction to be deprived of rights or privileges secured by the Constitution and laws is liable to the person injured. The facts in this case arose when a fire broke out in a townhouse on Cherry Road in Washington D.C. on May 30,1999. Unfortunately, that fire claimed the lives of two firefighters and caused serious injuries to three others.


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