Local Dispatch Agency Isn't Ruling Out Settlements In Pending Lawsuits

Aug 9, 2016

Leon County’s 911 call center is settling with the family of a slain Florida State University professor. It also has two other lawsuits still pending.

A call taker at Leon County's Consolidated Dispatch Agency.
Credit Kate Payne/ WFSU

Leon County’s Consolidated Dispatch Agency is not ruling out settlements in future legal challenges. There are two outstanding cases against the agency, which both stem from the killing of Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Smith in 2014. Smith was ambushed while responding to a staged house fire after dispatchers failed to communicate the danger. Erika Smith, the deputy’s widow, is suing the agency, and a separate challenge comes from three employees who were fired after the incident. CDA attorney David Marsey says settling is an option.

“There’s always a possibility of settlement, but I’m not going to comment on specifics because they’re both in active litigation,” he said.

The agency announced Monday it would pay $40, 000 to the family of Dan Markel, an FSU law professor who was killed by an alleged hitman in 2014. Due to dispatcher errors, ambulances didn’t arrive at the scene for 19 minutes. Marsey says the funds will be paid out to Markel's young sons.

“The case was settled for the sum of 40,000 dollars that will be payable in the form of an annuity, that when it matures, the children will be adults and they’ll be able to recover those monies,” he said.

The agency has been working to overcome employee turnover and software problems since it opened in 2013.