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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

    

 

 Appeals Court Rejects Sick Firefighters' Lawsuit......
by birdiebee1 (WebMD), on 3/19/2002 9:36:06 PM

Tuesday March 19 11:56 AM EST
Appeals Court Rejects Sick Firefighters' Lawsuit
The District Court of Appeals handed some sick Orlando firefighters a major defeat Monday.

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Now the city of Orlando is going after the firefighters and their attorneys to pick up the city's legal bills. The city's legal expenses have added up to more than $210,000.

Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood said taxpayers should be paid back, and at least one firefighter isn't happy about that possibility.

Retired Orlando Firefighter Mike Morton and 26 of his colleagues have been dealt a knockout legal blow.

Nearly five months ago, an Orange County Circuit Court judge threw out the firefighters' class-action lawsuit against the city, and the District Court of Appeals has agreed, making it the second court to reject firefighters' claims of a 20-year conspiracy to ignore their serious medical problems.

 



"The old adage about fighting city hall, it is very difficult," Morton said.

Now it could become more difficult for Morton and the others who filed suit. City officials will ask a circuit court judge to make the firefighters and their attorneys pick up some or all of the city's legal expenses.

Hood said city taxpayers should be paid back because the lawsuit was frivolous.

"The dollars we've expended for the different court processes that we've been through are the residents' dollars, so those residents, through the city process, need to be reimbursed in some way," Hood said.

Even if that means the sick firefighters themselves reimburse the city?

"I think all of the parties involved understood going in," Hood said. That worries Morton. "I Certainly don't like it. I don't have money to pay them," Morton said.

Morton has been fighting hepatitis-c for the past year and a half. He said medical tests conducted by the city's clinic showed he had symptoms of the illness years earlier, but he insisted the city never told him.

"They never sent me a letter. They never called me on the phone," Morton said.

But the city -- and, so far, the courts -- said otherwise. And Hood now wants to move forward.

 



"This doesn't mean it's going away. She would like it to, but it isn't," Morton said. Morton and another retired city firefighter, who is now dying of hepatitis-c, have put the city on notice: They will file suit against the city again.