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Fifth Circuit Notes City May be Liable for Fire Damages
FIFTH CIRCUIT NOTES CITY MAY BE LIABLE FOR FIRE DAMAGES
In Commerce Industry Ins. Co. v. Grinnel Corp., No. 01-30373 (Feb. 1, 2002), the Fifth Circuit Court of Apppeals reviewed a judgment entered for the City of New Orleans. The City was a defendant in a fire that rekindled. The trial court had granted the City summary judgment finding its activities were immunized by statute.
The Court of Appeals disagreed. It noted the Fire Department had not inspected the upper racks of the warehouse before determining the fire was out. The fire sprinklers had also been turned off and the electrical system was re-energized without an inspection taking place. The court found there were questions of fact related to building code provisions that required a permit before restoring power. There was still a fire emergency at the time attempts were made to re-energize the building. That the fire department's own policy was not to restore power when it had turned off the fire suppression system. Based on those factual disputes, the motion had to reversed and the matter returned to the trial court for further proceedings.
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