Jury Awards $10.6 Million to NY Firefighter

Yesterday a jury in New York awarded a severely injured firefighter $10.6 million in damages against Scott Technologies, and agreed to reconvene today to consider an award of punitive damages. However, in a settlement announced this afternoon, the parties agreed to dismiss the jury, forgo punitive damages, and Scott agreed to pay the firefighter and his family the $10.6 million.

The injured firefighter, Mitch Dryer, worked for the Oneida Fire Department. He suffered severe burn injuries while working at a fire in a bowling alley in Oneida in April, 2007. Following a partial collapse Dryer was pinned under debris and it took fellow firefighters 26 minutes to locate him. Dryer claims his PASS alarm failed to audibly sound, which contributing to a delay is his being found.

Dryer and his wife, Amee, filed suit in 2008 against the building owners and Scott. The Dryers claimed that a breach of warranty by Scott led to the delay in finding Mitch, which in turn led to the severity of his burn injuries that included the loss of his right arm. The case has been slowing working its way through the New York court system until the jury was empaneled in January.

Under the terms of the settlement the parties agreed:

  • Not to appeal any part of the case
  • Scott Technologies will pay compensatory damages of $10.6 million to the Dryers by Easter. Scott will not have to pay punitive damages.
  • Neither side will be no bound by a confidentiality agreement

Here is more on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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