AZ Appeals Court Says Mother Of Late Yarnell Hill Firefighter Cannot Sue State

Published: Monday, January 2, 2017 - 8:09am
Updated: Monday, January 2, 2017 - 12:44pm
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The state Court of Appeals has ruled that the mother of a firefighter killed in the Yarnell Hill blaze cannot sue the state. In a unanimous opinion, the justices said there was no evidence of “willful misconduct” by anyone involved.

The key word in this decision is “willful."

Appellate Court Judge Andrew Gould acknowledged that the allegations show a series of negligent acts but said there was no evidence that they were done purposefully.

But David Abney, an attorney for Marcia McKee, the mother of a late Granite Mountain Hotshot crewmember, argued much of what happened was so far over the edge that it could amount to wanton misconduct.

"For instance, there was one of the ground division supervisors who simply abandoned his post," explained Abney. "(He) went back to the command post, and failed to provide any sort of support for the Granite Mountain interagency hotshot crew."

But the judge said none of that matters unless the attorney can prove that the supervisors acted with deliberate intention. Abney said he will seek Supreme Court review.

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