Brame Investigation: Burgess Fitzer to represent city in lawsuit

Tacoma selected the law firm of Burgess Fitzer to represent it with regard to the claim for damages for the death of Crystal Brame. The claim, filed by Julie Ahrens, Crystal Brame’s sister, seeks $75 million in damages for herself, her parents, Crystal Brame’s estate, Haley Brame and David Brame, Jr.

Police Chief David Brame shot his estranged wife in the head April 26 in a Gig Harbor parking lot. He then turned the gun on himself and died later that day. Crystal Brame died a week later.

The filing procedure requires a 60-day hiatus between the filing of a claim for damages and the filing of a lawsuit, during which a claim is evaluated. The claim assessment process requires considered legal analysis.

The city selected Burgess Fitzer to assist in this analysis after interviewing several local and regional law firms experienced in dealing with complex legal matters.

Burgess Fitzer, based in Tacoma, is recognized for its experience in helping insured and self-insured entities- including individuals and municipalities-respond to and defend claims made against them.

The team representing the city will include attorneys with expertise in municipal, civil rights, employment and tort law, as well as extensive litigation experience.

“Burgess Fitzer will assist the city in evaluating the allegations against the city, and in communicating with the citizens of Tacoma about its progress toward resolving the claim,” said city attorney Robin Jenkinson.

The team that will counsel the city includes attorneys Tim Gosselin, Rob Novasky, Jill Haavig Stone and John Kugler. The group will begin work immediately.

The City Council approved a resolution Tuesday night for approval of a $250,000 contract with Burgess Fitzer.