Friday, March 1, 2013
Four people injured in last summer’s ladder truck accident
have notified the Green Valley Fire District that they intend to file
lawsuits seeking a total of $5.1 million for medical costs, pain and
The notices, filed Jan. 22, list more than $441,000 in combined medical costs so far.
Gary and Timber Friedman and Judith and Charles “Tom” Brown, all Green
Valley residents, filed four similar notices of claim through attorney
Michael Drake of Tucson against GVFD. Arizona law requires that a notice
of claim be filed before a local unit of government can be sued.
The four had been invited by firefighters Aug. 15 to take a public
relations ride in a bucket at the end of a 100-foot ladder on a ladder
truck parked behind Station 151 on La Cañada Drive. That happened after
Charles Brown purchased a gift certificate as a fund-raiser for the
Rotary Club of Valle Verde for dinner with firefighters and a station
The four went up in the bucket with fire Capt. Jeff Mooney and when the
ladder was nearly fully extended at a 45-degree angle, one or two cables
controlling the ladder snapped. That sent the bucket sliding down about
40 feet, where it “slammed to a violent stop 70 feet above the ground,”
the Notice of Claim says. The impact caused serious injuries to the
Friedmans and Judith Brown and less serious injuries to Charles Brown
The accident has been investigated by the Department of Public Safety,
whose detective is scheduled to give oral and written reports at the
fire board meeting today. In addition, ladder truck manufacturer Sutphen
of Amlin, Ohio, has done an investigation. Officials of the ladder
maker were present at a recent tear-down of the ladder truck in Ohio,
along with Green Valley Fire Chief Simon Davis and a representative of
the accident victims.
The notice says:
•Gary Friedman, 72, has suffered $175,000 in medical costs for fractures
of the tibia and fibula bones in his left leg, a torn rotator cuff and
right knee and leg lacerations. He had a metal pin, plate and screws
inserted into his leg and has had a skin graft. In addition he has
undergone pain and suffering and is seeking $2 million.
•Judith Brown, 70, has suffered a compound fracture of the left foot and
a crushed heel; fractured right foot and heel and fractured left knee.
She had pins and bolts inserted into both feet and had a bone graft
operation. Costs so far are $160,000 and she is seeking $1.5 million.
•Charles Brown, 78, sustained a right shoulder injury, abrasions and
contusions. His medical costs so far are $6,000. He is seeking $100,000
•Timber Friedman, 65, had pins, plates and screws inserted after she
suffered a displaced fracture of the right humerus bone above the elbow,
laceration and scarring of the right knee; right knee injury; fractured
toes on right foot, a left knee injury and severe lacerations on the
right side of her body from ankle to shoulder. Costs so far are $100,000
and she is seeking $1.5 million.
Fire Chief Simon Davis said the district’s counsel, Michael Herzog, has
advised him not to comment because of the potential of legal action in
The District is insured by VFIS Insurance, a national insurer
specializing in covering fire and emergency medical service agencies.
The victims’ lawyer did not respond to several inquiries.