Negligence Suit Reinstated Against Four New York Fire Departments

Supreme Court of New York’s Appellate Division has reinstated a suit against four volunteer fire departments alleging negligence in fighting a house fire in the Town of Liberty in 2014.

Franciszek C. Kulon claims the Liberty Fire District, Loch Sheldrake Fire Department, Grahamsville Volunteer Fire Department, and the Neversink Fire Department were grossly negligent when they responded to his home on February 18, 2014. According to The River Reporter, Kulon alleged in court documents that one of the fire trucks had no water when it arrived.

Kulon’s case was dismissed last year when the trial judge concluded that he missed the statutory deadline to file the suit. Last week, the Appellate Division reversed that ruling, concluding the trial judge failed to toll the running of the statute of limitations while an earlier suit Kulon filed was being heard. The earlier suit sought court permission to file a civil claim with the municipalities outside of the normal 90-day claim period.

The end result, the case will now return to Sullivan County Supreme Court where the fire departments will have to defend their actions or seek the have the case dismissed along other grounds.

Here is a copy of the decision: Kulon v Liberty Fire Dist._ 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3

More on the story.

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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