Texas City Sues Fire Department Over Apparatus Titles

The City of Howardwick, Texas has filed suit against the Howardwick Volunteer Fire Department to prevent the fire department from placing the titles and registrations for its apparatus in the fire department’s name. The suit was filed last week in Donley County District Court.

The fire department, which according to the complaint appears to have operated for decades as a municipal agency, was issued its own corporate charter in March, 2018. In February, 2019 the fire department began transferring title to its apparatus from the city to the fire department. The city became aware of the title transfers and filed suit accusing the fire department of conversion (a fancy way of saying they took something that was not theirs) and unjust enrichment. Citing concerns over lack of insurance coverage the city also sought a temporary restraining order.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

Here is a copy of a press release issued by the city:

More including video news coverage from KFDA News Channel 10.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
x

Check Also

FLSA Suit in Michigan Settled for $150k

A class action Fair Labor Standards Act suit brought last year by EMTs in Livingston County, Michigan has been settled for $150,000. The suit was brought by five EMTs who alleged that the county miscalculated their regular rate, which in turn led to a miscalculation of their overtime compensation.

CalFire Sues to Recover Costs Of Fighting Wildland Fire

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) filed suit last week against a man it claims started the Bridge Fire in Cambria in 2017. The suit was filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court against Andrew William Dreyfus and seeks $65,532 in damages.