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Local 27 Press Release: Mark Jones
Submitted by tanya on Tue, 08/10/2010 - 12:30pm
(Seattle, WA) – Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27, is outraged by the sleazy tactics that are being used by representatives of the City of Seattle to defame and discredit Mark Jones.
Mark is a Seattle Fire Fighter who suffered severe and devastating injuries on the job that have indefinitely and dramatically changed his life.
A video was released on Friday showing Mark at a recent outing where he was playing horseshoes and chopping wood. Kenny Stuart, President of the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, said, "The video showed Mark on a good day and after all he has been through, we are very thankful he has them."
Mark was hired as a Seattle Fire Fighter in April of 1998. Mark was injured at work when he woke up in the middle of the night to use the rest room and fell down the station's pole hole, falling 22 feet and landing on a concrete floor. Mark was not expected to survive his numerous injuries. These injuries included: traumatic brain injury; a collapsed right lung with a partial removal; all broken ribs on his right side in a number of places and two ribs removed; a broken back in seven places; two broken hips in five places; a ruptured bladder; a bruised liver; a broken right ankle; and several cracked teeth that had to be filed down so he could chew food. Mark spent a month in Harborview Medical Center recovering. Mark spent the next year of his life in a bed in his living room. By the second year of Mark's recovery, it became clear to his doctors that his injuries would prevent him from continued work at the Fire Department or the ability to work anywhere else. Mark was placed on permanent disability in February 2007.
Mark will need medical care for the rest of his life to treat the respiratory issues that come from having part of his lung removed and to treat his chronic pain, severe enough that narcotics are pumped directly in to his spine. Mark also continues to face ensuing mobility issues, as well as the emotional and cognitive issues that result from a traumatic brain injury.
Mark's injuries are real and have been devastating to him and his family. This most recent effort to discredit him publicly is not only disrespectful to Mark and his family, but it is disrespectful to fire fighters and all public safety personnel. Publicly mocking a military veteran and fire fighter with brain damage for profit is repulsive and irresponsible.
A King County Jury concluded that Mark was permanently disabled after a two month long trial. Trying Mark in public at this point by showing a few seconds of video and omitting the facts of the case demonstrates desperation and a lack of decency. The City of Seattle released this video seemingly to demonstrate that Mark Jones was able to do things physically that the jury was told he could not do. That is simply not true. Mark’s brain injury always been his primary diagnosed disability; the jury made the decision in 2007 to place Mark on permanent disability because of his brain injury. Mark and his attorneys have never stated that he is disabled from mobile activities, such as: walking, driving a car, chopping wood, or even playing horseshoes. It is also important to note that the video deposition the City gave the media was never shown or read to the jury.
Claims by City lawyers that Mark's behavior at the trial was a "deception" and that the video calls into question the "credibility and reliability" of what happened to Mark in his fall are disgusting and reprehensible in light of the extent of his well documented injuries. “Local 27 is extremely disappointed that the City is forced to stand by as its insurers dishonestly slander an honorable man, a military veteran, a former police officer, and a Seattle Fire Fighter,” said Kenny Stuart. “Frankly, it is immoral and disgusting.”
As to where the case stands currently, the City’s insurers have already appealed the judgment by the jury. AIG and ACE recently had the City file a new motion with Judge Craighead to try to get a new trial. Before Mark’s lawyers had a chance to file their opposition with Judge Craighead, the insurers and the City put out this one sided media blitz. This was possibly an attempt to pressure Judge Craighead about the upcoming decision or to prejudice an appellate judge about the appeal before they could review any of the facts of the appeal.
Seattle Fire Fighters hope that the City of Seattle will terminate its appeal in this case and allow Mark to continue to address the brutal realities of his future and rebuild his life in peace without the constant presence of investigators and attorneys following him around attempting to exploit any moment of happiness or normalcy he may find.
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