Michigan County Sued Over Dispatch Error

The family of a fourteen-year old who died after suffering an asthma-attack that left him brain-dead on life-support, has filed suit against Monroe County and a county dispatcher that they claim mishandled the 911 call. Bobby Reyes experienced difficulty breathing on September 21, 2019, prompting his mother, Sarah Jones, to initially help him search for his albuterol nebulizer.

When Reye’s difficulty breathing worsened, Jones simultaneously loaded him into her vehicle and called 911, informing the dispatcher she was headed to Ash Township Fire Station #2 to expedite treatment. The dispatcher apparently dispatched personnel to the Ash Township Firemens Association several miles away.

As a result there was roughly a ten minute delay, which the lawsuit alleges caused Reye’s death. The suit, filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges 42 U.S.C. § 1983 deprivation of due process, deliberate indifference, gross negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

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.
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