City of Columbia seeks to intervene in wrongful death lawsuit over firefighter's death

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Columbia, Mo. - The City of Columbia is looking to intervene in a wrongful death lawsuit filed after a Columbia firefighter died in a walkway collapse. 

The city filed a motion to intervene Friday, alleging they have a right to be reimbursed for workers' compensation paid to Britt's widow, Leigh Kottwitz, and her daughter, Stormy Britt.

Court documents say the "City of Columbia has paid workers' compensation benefits including ongoing weekly workers' compensation death benefits to Bruce Britt's dependents beginning from the date of his fatal injury to the present." Britt died while responding to a walkway collapse at University Village, a university-owned complex, back in February 2014. 

One month after his death, Britt's widow filed a lawsuit against the University of Missouri curators. The lawsuit claims the university didn't properly maintain the apartments. 

Last week, an undisclosed settlement was reached between Britt's widow, her daughter and the university. A hearing was scheduled Tuesday for a judge to decide whether to approve the terms of the settlement. The hearing, however, was canceled when the city filed its motion. 

In response, the plaintiffs have filed a motion in opposition to the city's motion to intervene. Court documents say the city has "failed to meet its burden to establish an unconditional right to intervene or entitlement to intervene". They also say "a workers' compensation carrier has a multitude of options available to recoup benefits it has paid." 
The defendants in the case, University of Missouri curators, also filed a motion for a change of judge Tuesday. A UM spokesman says the university does not comment on active legislation. 
Neither the City of Columbia's attorney, nor Kottwitz's attorney, were available for comment. 

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