Federal Judge Dismisses Delaware LODD Lawsuit

Wilmington families to appeal ruling

Lieutenant Ardythe Hope (left), Captain Christopher Leach (top), Lieutenant Jerry Fickes (bottom). (department photos)

FirefighterNation Staff

WILMINGTON, Delaware – A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit on behalf of three Wilmington, Delaware firefighters killed in the line of duty in 2016.

NIOSH LODD Report: Delaware Firefighters Killed in Collapse

According to DelawareOnline U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika wrote on a 21-page opinion that the federal civil lawsuit failed to allege the necessary underlying constitutional violation brought forth by the families of the deceased firefighters.

Read the Decision: Speakman v. Williams

The lawsuit, filed in 2018, blames the city of Wilmington and former city officials for the deaths of Captain Christopher Leach, Lieutenant Jerry Fickes, and Lieutenant Ardythe Hope, in a September 2016 fire.

FirefighterNation:
Delaware Firefighters Killed in Collapse Identified; Four Other Firefighters Injured
Wilmington Firefighter Succumbs to Injuries

One of the contentions in the lawsuit was that the years-old practice of rolling brownouts caused insufficient staffing, slowed fire company responses, and contributed to the firefighters’ deaths.

The closest engine company on the night of the fire was closed.

Attorneys representing the firefighters and their families plan to appeal Judge Noreika’s ruling.

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