Scottsdale, Reiss family reach settlement regarding toddler’s death at fire station

Scottsdale City Hall is at 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. in downtown Scottsdale. (File photo)

A settlement will mark the end of the Daniel Reiss and Courtney Reiss v. City of Scottsdale lawsuit — which involved the death of a 16-month-old toddler — with the city awarding the couple $1.5 million.

Scottsdale City Council, at its Aug. 27 meeting, approved on consent a contract to settle the lawsuit. In return, the city will dismiss its cross-claims and requests for defense and indemnification against the couple.

The lawsuit stems from a Feb. 3, 2018 visit to a fire station at 1901 N. Miller Road. The Reiss family, including their toddler, Joey, were on a tour of the facility.

Joey’s death was a result of a bay door crushing him, according to the notice of claim letter sent to the city on June 21, 2018.

Mr. and Mrs. Reiss filed a wrongful death claim against the city, alleging their son’s death was the result of negligent acts on the city’s part. The Reiss family, per their notice of claim, argued the city should have had signs or other physical barriers to help prevent the incident.

Initially, the Reiss family sought a $9 million settlement for wrongful death and Mrs. Reiss’s emotional distress.

The city says the case has been actively litigated for about a year and had numerous depositions, thousands of pages examined and consultation with several expert witnesses.

The settlement agreement does not “constitute an admission by any of the parties of any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever.”

Rather, the document serves as a “compromise and settlement of disputed claims and an effort to avoid further litigation expenses.” The plaintiffs also entered into a separate confidential agreement to resolve separate claims.

The next steps include the city paying the Reiss family “within a reasonable time.”

The City Attorney’s Office will then obtain a dismissal of litigation.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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