Father of 3 Victims in Christmas Day Fire Files Suit Against City

Matthew Badger, who lost his three daughters in the Christmas Day fire on Shippan Ave., is bringing a wrongful death suit against a number of parties.


After announcing his, Matthew Badger officially filed a lawsuit Wednesday against multiple parties for the wrongful deaths of his three daughters, according to official documents. 

Badger lost his daughters Lily, 9, and Grace & Sarah, 7-year-old twins, in a that tore through the . He was a resident of New York, NY, at the time of the fire. 

Badger stated in his suit, filed on behalf of the individual estates of his three girls, that they had died as a result of a home that had "become a firetrap as a result of months of substandard and dangerous construction leading up to the fire." 

"The girls' estates seek compensation for their conscious pain and suffering, consciousness of impending death, death itself, loss of enjoyment of life's activities and future earnings."

In the suit, , a friend of Badger's wife , as the first defendant. Madonna and Borcina had been at the house at approximately 3 a.m. when Borcina moved smoldering embers from the fireplace to a wastebasket, which according to fire officials, was the cause of the fire. 

Borcina was also allegedly the general contractor on many of the projects the home was undergoing and was both directly working on many of the improvements making final decisions on subcontractors chosen for the work, according to the lawsuit. 

Badger also lists the following as defendants:

  • Tiberias Construction
  • Michael Foley
  • Mike Foley's Fine Carpentry, Inc.
  • New Canaan resident Robert Dean
  • New Canaan Design Partners LLC
  • Stephen Holt
  • Shoreline Electrical Contracting LLC 
  • The City of Stamford

Borcina, according to the suit, was responsible for "installation and activation of a working and functioning hard-wired fire alarm system," but that no life-saving system was functioning at the time of the fire and, more pointedly, Borcina had allowed Badger's three daughters to live in the home without ever telling them no functioning system was in place. 

Against the city, Badger claimed they were presented with inherently flawed plans and yet still issued permits and allowed work on the home to take place. He said the city conducted inspections, found flaws with the work as it progressed, yet failed to properly followup on "inadequate inspections" or raise issue with the home's occupancy even without a an occupancy certificate, working smoke detectors or an active fire alarm system. 

The suit also claims that neither Borcina or Tiberias were officially authorized to operate as general contractors in the state of Connecticut, but the city failed to stop either from operating in those roles.

The city has already claimed it wold any actions brought against it, but representation was unavailable for comment Wednesday night.

"We're going to pursue this vigorously,' said Richard Emery, main representation for Badger. "We're attempting to hold all parties responsible for this tragedy accountable." 

John Whitcomb is the local representation for Badger and the lawyer who filed the lawsuit. 

Madonna Badger — not for wrongful death, but for destruction of property since she believes the city failed to properly preserve evidence in the case. Madonna lost her parents Lomer and Pauline Johnson in the fire as well.

The State Attorney's office declared last month that in the case. 

Sushi July 12, 2012 at 07:05 PM
The Father has a very legitimate lawsuit on his hands. Rightfully so, he names Michael Borcina and his company as defendant #1. I believe that the Father has an excellent chance of winning his lawsuit and I believe he will do just that. The City of Stamford made a huge mistake in tearing down the house but there was no malintent in doing so. I believe it was done for safety reasons and by gross judgment error by one individual in City Government. But given the magnitutde of the incident and the day on which it occured, people were not thinking clearly when the instruction came to tear it down. Nonetheless evidence was destroyed as a result of poor judgment. I do not believe that the City of Stamford had anything to do with starting the fire of course, so therefore, I am not sure it belongs in this lawsuit - perhaps a separate suit. I believe the city's inspector should be terminated for his decision here that could cost the city tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars because of his decision.
Shelly Boyle July 18, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Yes, I hope he is successful . Michael Borcina is the main individual responsible for this mess. He probably did not inform Ms Badger that the hard wired system was not yet working and that the batteries were not charged. He had to know that the house was not safe to live in but did not inform Ms Badger, and she was not aware of the dangers. She trusted a very incompetant person. He then disposed of fireplace ash in a paper bag and left it in the house. Unbelievable stupidity. It is hard to imagine such an incompetant act. He should be locked up !!!!


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