Family of LA County Firefighter Murdered on Duty Sues Estate of Firefighter-Shooter

The parents of a Los Angeles County firefighter who was shot and killed by a coworker while on duty earlier this year, have filed suit against the estate of the firefighter-shooter. Tory Carlon was shot and killed while on duty at LA County Station 81 on June 1, 2021 by Jonathan Patrick Tatone.

The complaint alleges Carlon was shot multiple times by Tatone, and that the pair, who worked on different shifts, had a longstanding dispute. Tatone later committed suicide.

The suit was brought in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Carlon’s parents, Larry and Bonnie Carlon. Besides naming Tatone’s estate, the suit names 200 unidentified Doe defendants. The suit alleges assault and battery, negligence, and wrongful death.

Quoting from the complaint:

  • The Decedent and Defendant, JONATHAN PATRICK TATONE (Deceased), shared the same job at Fire Station 81, both serving as firefighter engineers, but on different shifts.
  • The Defendant had a longstanding job related workplace dispute with the Decedent.
  • After a shift change on the morning of June 1, 2021, the Defendant returned to the fire station where he shot and killed the Decedent.

While the suit does not name the LA County Fire Department, any officers, or perhaps others involved in supplying the weapon/ammunition involved, the following language suggests the plaintiffs are keeping the door open to adding additional defendants:

  • All corporate Defendants are, and at all times herein mentioned were, corporations doing business in the State of California.
  • Furthermore, all corporate Defendants are, and at all times mentioned herein were, the alter-egos of each and every other Defendant and there exists, and at all times herein mentioned has existed, a unity of interest and ownership between said Defendants such that any separateness between them has ceased to exist in that the Defendants have completely controlled, dominated, managed, and operated the corporate Defendants and have intermingled the assets of each to suit their convenience.
  • Further, the corporate Defendants are, and at all times mentioned herein were, mere shells, instrumentalities and conduits through which Defendants carried out their business in the corporate name while exercising complete control and dominance of the business such that individuality or separateness did not exist.
  • At all times herein mentioned, each Defendant authorized and/or ratified the acts of all employees, agents and co-Defendants under their supervision and/or control.
  • The facts linking the fictitiously designated Defendants with the causes of action alleged herein and/or the true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, partnership, or otherwise of Defendants, DOES 1 through 200, are unknown to Plaintiffs at this time, who therefore sue said Defendants by such fictitious names and will seek to amend this
  • Complaint to show their true names and/or capacities when ascertained.
  • Said Defendants are sued as principals and/or agents, servants and employees of said principals who were performing acts within the course and scope of their authority and employment.
  • Each and every Defendant designated herein as a “DOE” is responsible in some actionable manner for the events and happenings referred to herein which proximately caused the injuries and damages alleged.
  • Defendants, JONATHAN PATRICK TATONE (Deceased), and DOES 1 through 200, were aware of the probable dangerous consequences of said conduct and willfully and/or deliberately failed to avoid those consequences.
  • Defendants, JONATHAN PATRICK TATONE’S conduct, and that of DOES 1 through 200, subjected Decedent to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of Decedent’s rights.

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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