Wrongful death lawsuit filed after deadly Jackson County dock fire

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. – A wrongful death lawsuit related to a deadly dock fire has been filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The fire developed at Jackson County Marina Dock B in January 2020, and claimed the lives of eight people. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board ruled the fire as “accidental,” but a federal report said the blaze was worsened by the marina’s limited fire safety practices.

The lawsuit names nine plaintiffs, including the estates of Amanda Nicole
Foster and Yancy Farrell Roper two victims of the fire – and 16 defendants. The listed defendants include the City of Scottsboro, Jackson County, Jackson County Commission, and members of the commission at the time of the fire.

According to court filings, the lawsuit includes “unnecessary death, injuries to, and property losses of many people.”

“For those families who have lost their loved ones there is no amount of money that replaces who you lost, there is no amount of money that heals the heart,” said Attorney Kenny Cole.

Attorney Kenny Cole said the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages.

“The possibility of obtaining some type of compensation for people who have lost their boats, their personal property, for people who have suffered personal injuries and have incurred medical bills,” said Cole.

They are also seeking punitive damages— in hopes of deterring something like this from happening again.

“The goal we want to achieve is to hold people accountable so they will institute safety programs in the future that will make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” said Cole.

The defendant list includes the City of Scottsboro, Jackson County, the Jackson County Commission, and members of the commission at the time of the fire.

“Prior to filing the complaint we tried as best we could to obtain the cooperation of folks we know are involved out there so we could identify the other parties that were properly to be included in the lawsuit,” said Cole.

Parties Listed in Lawsuit

Plaintiffs:

  • Estate of Amanda Nicole Foster, deceased
  • Estate of Yancy Farrell Roper, deceased
  • John Sanderson of Claremont, New Hampshire
  • Alvin Brown of Jackson County, Alabama
  • Elford Burns of DeKalb County, Alabama
  • Harrel Burns of DeKalb County, Alabama
  • Bryan McGaha of Jackson County, Alabama
  • Tim Parker of Lincoln County, Tennessee
  • Wayne Waldrop of Jackson County, Alabama

Defendants:

  • Jackson County, Alabama
  • Jackson County Commission
  • Tim Guffey Jackson County Commission member at time of the fire
  • Danny Rich Jackson County Commission member at time of the fire
  • Jason Venable Jackson County Commission member at time of the fire
  • Melinda Gilbert Jackson County Commission member at time of the fire
  • Mike Sisk Jackson County Commission member at time of the fire
  • Association of County Commissioners of Alabama Liability Self Insurance Fund, Inc.
  • City of Scottsboro, Alabama
  • Electric Power Board of the City of Scottsboro, Alabama
  • Ladd Environmental Consultants, Inc.
  • K.W. Raines Associates, Inc.
  • Gregory W. Miller, Sr. of Miller Electric
  • Womack Electric, LLC
  • Whisenant Construction, LLC
  • CHJ Construction Co. Inc.
  • Fictitious Defendants A-Z above who also do business in Alabama.

The full lawsuit can be read here.

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