Advertisement

Complaint dismissed against 3 in civil suit

September 13, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - A Washington County Circuit Court judge on Friday dismissed a civil complaint against the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, the Washington County Commissioners and a dispatcher in his capacity as a county employee in a lawsuit over the death of a former Smithsburg fire company volunteer and her unborn baby.

Three years after Christina Lynn Hess, 20, died from complications connected to her pregnancy, her mother Tammy Reed and her fianc Danny A. Gibson are suing several parties over their roles in the emergency medical response.

Hess' unborn son, Hunter, died along with his mother March 5, 2004.

Still named in the lawsuit are Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services Inc.; former ambulance chief Jason Tracey; Robert Myerly, who was a dispatcher at the time; and medics Karen Nicol and James Ulrich.

The $4 million lawsuit alleges that a bitter dispute between the Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Co. and the ambulance company played a part in the care that Hess received. Tracey could be heard on a 911 tape mocking the medical call and belittling the fire department.

Advertisement

In a taped telephone call, Myerly told Nicol, a medic who asked for extra help to treat Hess, that Tracey would not help "because of the fire company."

Lawyers for five of the defendants asked Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long to remove their clients from the case during an August hearing.

Long's order Friday dismissed wrongful death counts against all defendants alleging negligence, gross negligence and willful conduct in the death of Hess' unborn son.

The medics and Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services Inc. still face wrongful death and survival action counts that allege gross negligence and willful conduct in the death of Hess and her unborn son. They also face individual action counts that allege invasion of privacy involving unreasonable publicity and invasion of privacy putting Hess in a false light.

Tracey faces wrongful death and survival action counts that allege negligence, gross negligence and willful conduct in the deaths of Hess and her unborn son. He also faces individual action counts that allege invasion of privacy involving unreasonable publicity and invasion of privacy putting Hess in a false light.

The complaint against the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association Inc. was dismissed because the complaint didn't show any active negligence by the association that caused the death of Hess and her unborn son, according to Long's order.

Long also dismissed the complaint against the Washington County Commissioners and against Myerly in his capacity as an employee of Washington County. The plaintiffs didn't file the complaint within 180 days of the injury, as they must in accordance with the Local Government Tort Claims Act, according to Long's order.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|