Feds want Gatlinburg wildfire wrongful death suit dismissed

The United States government issued a response supporting the motion to dismiss the lawsuit lodged by Gatlinburg wildfire victim Michael Reed.

Reed lost his wife, Constance, and two daughters, Chloe and Lillian, during the 2016 fires and sued the government for $13.5 million.

He filed a suit with the U.S. District Court in Knoxville for losses and damages sustained in the disaster. He was one of two people named in the suit, the other was James L. England.

England is suing the government for $1.3 million.

The government's response to the suit was sent out on Oct. 10 and called for the suit to be dismissed.

"In enacting the discretionary function exception...Congress made clear that courts may not use FTCA lawsuits to revisit such policy-based judgment calls by federal agencies. This action therefore must be dismissed in its entirety."

According to the suit, the discretionary function exception makes the government "immune from liability absent its consent." The response also claims that "Plaintiffs' lawsuit is based upon the Park Service's alleged negligence in fighting the Chimney Tops 2 Fire," and that the "National Park Service's Firefighting Activities Are Protected By The Discretionary Function Exception."

Ultimately, "there is a lack of any meaningful connection between the allegedly mandatory directives cited by Plaintiffs and the true discretionary source of their harms."

Following the government's call for dismissal, a federal judge will issue a ruling. No date is set for that as of Thursday.

Read the full response located in the Related Documents tab.



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