LEXINGTON, Ky. — City officials were not negligent in the death of a Lexington firefighter killed in the line of duty, attorneys said in response to a lawsuit.
Lt. Brenda Cowan was fatally shot last year while responding to a domestic-violence call. The executor of Cowan’s estate, Glenn H. Cowan, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit last month in Fayette Circuit Court against Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac, Fire Chief Robert G. Hendricks and Police Chief Anthany Beatty, among others. The lawsuit asked for compensation for Cowan’s pain and suffering, wrongful death, and medical and funeral expenses. It said 911 operators, dispatchers and EMS personnel did not accurately relay details of the call to Cowan and her crew. On Feb. 13, 2004 Cowan and other firefighters were helping Fontaine Hutchinson in the front yard of her house before police arrived at the scene. Police said her husband, Patrick Hutchinson, shot at Cowan and her crew. Cowan, 40, and Fontaine Hutchinson, 60, were killed in the incident. Another firefighter who has since retired, Jim Sandford, recovered from the gunshot wounds he received. The city argued that Hutchinson, who also is named in the suit, was responsible for Cowan’s death. Attorneys also cited government immunity from such lawsuits. Attorneys said Cowan’s estate was already paid a lump-sum death benefit of $57,799.31 in worker’s compensation a month after Cowan’s death. A judge will hear arguments in the case April 15. Information from: Lexington Herald Leader, http://www.kentucky.com