Attorney: Hotshot legal claim about answers, not money

Nov 15, 2013, 6:24 PM
LISTEN: Craig Knapp and Marcia McKee

PHOENIX — The attorney for the mother of one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots said a $36 million legal claim filed Friday is not about the money but instead an attempt to figure out what went wrong.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about answers and taking measures to fix this and fix it fast,” Attorney Craig Knapp told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos.

Knapp, the attorney for Marcia McKee, whose son, Grant, was killed, said the hotshots were exhausted from working a previous fire and were called to battle the Yarnell Hill Fire on what should have been their day off.

“Legally we have to prove that the government, the state and county were negligent and they failed to protect these man and there’s ample evidence of that.”

He also alleged they were dispatched without the appropriate radio equipment, a GPS device or an escape plan. This led to the hotshots getting trapped.

“They lost track of these men. How do you lose track of 19 firefighters,” Knapp asked. “And when you lose track of them, rescuing them is impossible.”

The claim specified that McKee is seeking $12 million each from Arizona, Yavapai County and the city of Prescott. Knapp said the amount has little do with the case.

“We have to put a value on a life of a 21-year-old man and that’s a tough task,” he said, adding that Arizona law requires a specific amount to enter a claim.

McKee said her son would be happy that she filed the suit as, had he survived, he would want to know what went wrong on June 30.

McKee has said she will settle for $12 million if its paid within 60 days.

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Attorney: Hotshot legal claim about answers, not money