Close this search box.

Firefighter’s Brain Injury Lawsuit Dismissed in Court Ruling

SAN FRANCISCO, California — In a recent decision on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, the California Court of Appeal ruled against San Francisco firefighter Matthew Vann, prohibiting him from filing a brain injury lawsuit over an incident involving a city bus. The court determined that the injuries fell under the jurisdiction of workers’ compensation, denying Vann the opportunity to pursue legal action.

The incident occurred in November 2020 when Louis Yu, a bus driver employed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, drove through an active emergency scene, running over a fire hose. As a result, the hose detached, causing Vann to trip, lose his helmet, and suffer a head injury leading to traumatic brain injury, as outlined in the court’s ruling.

Although Vann received worker compensation benefits, he sought further recourse by filing a lawsuit against the city and Yu, alleging negligence. Vann argued that workers’ compensation was not his exclusive remedy, asserting that litigation was permissible due to the non-co-employment relationship between him and Yu and the distinct legal entities of the fire department and the city.

Despite his arguments, a judge disagreed, asserting that the city’s fire department and transportation agency were components of the same legal entity. On appeal, Vann reiterated his stance, contending that the fire department should be regarded as a separate entity from the city. However, the California Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision, rejecting Vann’s assertion that the fire department operated independently of the city. Consequently, Vann’s lawsuit against the city remains dismissed.

Follow Us