Lawsuit Blames Man's Death on Dallas 911

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    A lawsuit blames the November death of a North Dallas man on the city's 911 emergency call system. (Published Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013)

    A lawsuit blames the November death of a North Dallas man on the city's 911 emergency call system.

    Matthew Sanchez was found dead of an overdose by his parents in his apartment hours after a call to 911, according to the lawsuit.

    At the time, Dallas Fire -Rescue spokesman Lt. Joel Lavender said two calls came from the same complex within about 10 minutes, both for overdoses.

    Lavender said the call-taker asked the second caller if it was for the first incident, and the caller said yes.

    "So, in our minds, we put both calls together and then moved forward," he said. "It wasn't until later that we learned some type of confusion had occurred."

    The lawsuit blames the death on the "dispatcher's negligent use of the computer and phone system property and/or the malfunction of the phone system and/or subsequent failures in appropriate procedure."

    The lawsuit also names Dallas-based AT&T Inc. and iPhone maker Apple Inc., a California-based company.

    Sanchez family attorney Brett Anthony said existing cellphone GPS technology can differentiate between nearby calls, even from the same apartment complex.

    "That technology needs to be shared with 911 call centers," he said.

    The city of Dallas and both companies decline to comment on pending lawsuits.

    People connected with the Dallas 911 system said some of the technology the lawsuit seeks is already available to emergency responders when it works as intended.