City of Columbia files motion to intervene in settlement

2 months 1 week 2 days ago February 15, 2017 Feb 15, 2017 Wednesday, February 15 2017 Wednesday, February 15, 2017 3:01:00 PM CST in News
By: Steve Lambson, News Content Manager

COLUMBIA - Lawyers for the City of Columbia have filed a motion of intervention in the settlement related to a in the lawsuit over the 2014 death of firefighter Bruce Britt.

Leigh Britt, Bruce's widow, and the University of Missouri Board of Curators reached a settlement in the wrongful death suit filed following Britt's death. Britt was killed after a walkway at the now-demolished University Apartments collapsed in February 2014.

On Friday, the City of Columbia filed its motion, saying a worker's compensation claim over Britt's death is still pending. The city has been paying worker's compensation benefits Britt's dependents since the accident, and said it is entitled to reimbursement determined by the state Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. Because the amount of the reimbursement hasn't been decided on, the city's motion said, any settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit should wait until the compensation claim has been concluded.

On Monday, Leigh Britt's attorneys filed a motion in opposition to the city's motion, claiming the city didn't show it has the right under state law to seek an intervention. The motion further said the state Court of Appeals ruled prior that an employer doesn't have "an unconditional right to intervene in an action filed by an injured employee against a negligent third party." Britt's motion further stated the city's right to reimbursement is protected by state law.

Attorneys for the UM Board of Curators also filed a motion on Monday, this one seeking a change of judge. Associate Circuit Judge Deborah Daniels currently presides over the case.

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