Lawsuit against former Ozark chief settled for $1.8 million

Fire chief had been drinking when he ordered a medical helicopter not to respond to critically hurt man.
Undated file photo of federal courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama.
Undated file photo of federal courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama.(GRAY)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVY) -A $1.8 million settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit against an Ozark fire chief who, after drinking, delayed emergency response to a badly injured man.

On April 3, 2013, Brian Lomanack flipped his four wheeler in rural Dale County. Paramedics from nearby Echo, Alabama rushed to the accident scene and, after observing Lomanack’s critical injuries, requested a medevac helicopter.

However, Ozark Fire Chief Gregory Boutwell ordered a 911 dispatcher to cancel the flight, though he lacked that authority because the ATV accident occurred several miles outside the city’s jurisdiction. Court records show he made the decision after consuming alcohol that evening.

Boutwell also told the dispatcher that he would drive to the scene and personally assess the situation, undermining the Echo medical staff’s authority.

Eventually, he relented but, before the flatiron helicopter arrived, Lomanack was on his way to Dothan in a ground ambulance.

A judge estimated his hospital treatment had been delayed for 20 minutes.

Permanently incapacitated and with medical bills exceeding $200,000, Lomanack filed the lawsuit and, after six years of litigation, a $1,807,892.11 has been reached.

“The Court finds that the terms and conditions of the proposed settlement are in the best interest of Lomanack and are fair, just, and reasonable under the circumstances,” U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker, Jr. wrote of the settlement agreement this week.

He stated there is no reason to believe a jury would award damages greater than the settlement and Huffaker also pointed out a jury could award less—or perhaps no damages---because Lomanack had also been drinking that evening.

Lomanack and his attorneys will evenly split the settlement after $43,000 is paid to Lomanack’s mother, also his guardian, to reimburse her legal expenses.

An insurance policy will pay the settlement for Boutwell, who resigned as Ozark chief in 2014 after serving a suspension.

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