D.C. judge dismisses lawsuit over death of man who waited 30 minutes for ambulance

A D.C. Superior Court judge this week dismissed a multimillion-dollar wrongful-death lawsuit against the D.C. fire department by the family of a District man who died of a heart attack after waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance.

In his four-page ruling filed Monday, Judge Neal E. Kravitz affirmed the city’s motion to dismiss the case and cited District laws that shield District employees who are involved in “public duty” capacities such as in emergency cases, from financial liability.

In the lawsuit, the family of Durand A. Ford Sr. claimed the city was negligent with Ford, a 71-year-old retired accountant who collapsed in his Southeast Washington home on Jan. 1. The suit alleged Ford died because the city failed to provide a prompt response to a 911 emergency call.

The existing District liability laws involving public duty have been the subject of debate among judges within the D.C. Court of Appeals during previous cases.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
John Sullivan is a reporter on The Post's Investigations team, an investigative reporter in residence at American University and a senior editor at the Investigative Reporting Workshop.
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