Buffalo Firefighter Sues Colleague Over St. Patrick’s Day Assault

A Buffalo firefighter who was seriously injured in an altercation with another Buffalo firefighter following a St. Patrick’s Day parade last year, has filed suit alleging negligence, recklessness and battery. Derek Rose filed suit in Erie County Supreme Court, naming Richard Manley as the sole defendant. Rose’s wife, Danielle, is named as co-plaintiff. She is seeking damages for loss of consortium.

The altercation occurred on March 19, 2022 at the Blackthorn Restaurant and Pub following the “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Rose was in uniform at the time. According to WGRZ-2, he spent a month in the ICU at Erie County Medical Center.

Following the incident, police and prosecutors expressed frustration that numerous uniformed firefighters present at the Blackthorn would not cooperate with the investigation. WKBW-7 quoted District Attorney John Flynn as saying:

  • I’ve got a wife with a husband in the hospital now in critical, critical condition. I’ve got a mother with a son in the hospital right now in critical condition. I’ve got a firefighter — a member of this community — who helps protect all of us, whose job it is to save lives, in critical condition in the hospital right now. So far, I’m not getting a lot of help by telling me what happened. The wife wants to know what happened. The mother wants to know what happened. The fire community wants to know what happened. The community in general wants to know what happened, and John Flynn wants to know what happened.

WGRZ-2 also reported a lack of cooperation by personnel on scene. Following a police investigation, no criminal charges were brought. Manley was suspended for 30-days without pay.

The Roses suit was filed just prior to the one-year anniversary of the incident. Quoting from the complaint:

  • Count I…
  • On or about the 19th day of March, 2022, at the Blackthorn Restaurant and Pub… the defendant, RICHARD MANLEY, caused injury to the plaintiff, DEREK ROSE, as hereinafter alleged.
  • Upon information and belief, the alleged incident hereinbefore described and the resultant injuries were caused as the result of the negligence, carelessness and reckless conduct on the part of the defendant, RICHARD MANLEY.
  • As a result of the alleged incident, the plaintiff, DEREK ROSE, sustained bodily injuries and was painfully and seriously injured, and some of the injuries may result in permanent defects; was rendered sick, sore, lame and disabled; sustained pain and suffering and shock to his nerves and nervous system; was caused to and did seek medical aid and attention; was caused to be confined to hospital, bed and home; was caused to and did incur great medical expense, and may incur further medical expense; was caused to be incapacitated from his usual activities and employment, and may be further incapacitated.
  • Count 2…
  • Upon information and belief, the said injuries were caused by the defendant, RICHARD MANLEY, intentionally striking the plaintiff, DEREK ROSE.
  • Count 3…
  • At all times herein mentioned, the plaintiff, DANIELLE ROSE, was the wife of the plaintiff, DEREK ROSE, and was entitled to the services, society, consortium and companionship of her spouse.
  • Upon information and belief, as a result of the aforesaid incident, the plaintiff, DANIELLE ROSE, was deprived of the services, society, consortium and companionship of her spouse.
  • Upon information and belief, as a result of the aforesaid incident, the plaintiff, DANIELLE ROSE, was caused to and did incur medical expenses, and may incur further medical expenses for the care and treatment of her spouse.

The fact pattern here raises a number of important Garrity-related questions. Garrity refers to a public employee’s right to remain silent when ordered to answer questions as part of a disciplinary investigation. As a general rule, a public employer may compel a public employee to answer questions that are “specifically, directly, and narrowly related to the performance of his/her/ their official duties.” Once compelled, the answers are immunized and cannot be used against the firefighter in a criminal proceeding. We will be discussing these very issues in our upcoming program: Advanced Garrity Issues: Firefighters and the Right to Remain Silent. The next session is March 22, 2023. We will answer all of the questions you could possibly have on this issue.

Here is a copy of the complaint.

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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