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Judge Approves of Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuit of Columbia Firefighter

A judge has recently approved of a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a Columbia firefighter; the lawsuit was filed against the University Of Missouri System Board Of Curators. 

Lt. Bruce Britt, the Columbia firefighter that died on February 22, 2014, was on top of a walkway that partially collapsed. Britt and his team were responding to a call that reported a collapsed roof at the University Village apartments.  He was 48-years-old and was a 23-year veteran working with the Columbia Fire Department.  Britt’s wife, Leigh Britt, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in March 2014 against the UM System Board of Curators claiming her husband’s death resulted from the negligence by the university.

On February 1, 2017, the university denied liability in the suit but set a motion to settle.  A hearing that requested judge approval was arranged for February 14, but was postponed and rescheduled for Monday, March 13, 2017.  

Leigh’s attorney, Rick Barry, as well as John Roark, an attorney for the University of Missouri, could not be reached for any comment.  In 2008, University of Missouri created a plan that recommended that the University Village be demolished within the following three years.  It was noted that termites caused a great amount of damage to the building infrastructure and flooring.  After investigations were conducted, it was concluded that Britt’s death resulted because of the University Village balconies being structurally unsound.  A later report conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, released January 2015, found that Britt’s death was also a result of miscommunication.

The settlement amount is confidential and University Village was torn down after the incident.  According to previous Missourian reporting, a percentage of the settlement will be used to secure an annuity for Britt’s daughter, Stormy.  

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