Seattle Firefighter Under Investigation for Falsely Claiming a Disabling Injury

A Seattle firefighter’s $12.8 million judgment against the city as well as his pension may be in jeopardy as the result of an investigation into just how serious his job-related injuries actually are.

In 2003, Firefighter Mark Jones fell down a pole hole at Station 33. It was not his normal station and he was not familair with the station layout. Jones got up during the night to use the bathroom and  fell down the unguarded pole hole resulting in head injuries; back injuries; fractured pelvis, vertebrae, and ribs; and internal injuries to his liver, lungs and bladder. A similar accident had occurred at the same station in 1975.

Jones sued the department for negligence and received a $12.8 million jury verdict. He was also awarded a disability pension.

The city is now seeking to vacate the judgement based upon an investigator’s video of Jones. The news reports about the video make it sound like a clear case of fraud. Take a look for yourself. I am not convinced that it shows a man who can perform the duties of a firefighter – but perhaps there is more to the case. That will ultimately be for a court to determine.

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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