'Strong Arm' Brian Loncar's lawsuit against city of Dallas thrown out

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 18 at 10:20 PM

DALLAS -- You can see Brain Loncar almost daily in television commercials.

“I'm attorney Brian Loncar, the strong arm," he says. "When you get hurt in a car wreck, you need someone to fight for you."

He says he fights for you, but Loncar is fighting for himself against the city of Dallas.

He got into a wreck with a Dallas fire truck in May of 2008.

According to court documents, fire fighters were headed to fire call at a major hardware store when Loncar pulled out in front of the truck. Witnesses said he "was accelerating into the intersection [of Lemmon and Lomo Alto] to beat the yellow light and did not yield."

Loncar totaled his $180,000 Bentley and the $110,000 fire engine. He sued and, initially, a state district judge ruled the case could move forward.

Attorney Pete Schulte reviewed the case for News 8.

"It sounds like Mr. Loncar was able to provide some evidence that maybe contradictory to what the fire department provided," Schulte said.

Documents show Loncar accused the engine driver of "accelerating from the middle of the left turn and never braking." He claimed it was "dangerous because the driver admits he saw Loncar approaching the intersection."

But the city filed suit in turn against Loncar, saying it is protected by what's called "qualified immunity."

"It protects government workers who are doing their job, whether it's a fireman, police officers, or paramedics," Schulte said.

An appellate court ruled this week Loncar could not sue, because the firefighters were doing their jobs and the city was protected. The judge tossed out the case, and now Loncar has to pay court costs.

"They are allowed to run red lights, they are allowed to exceed the speed limit," Schulte said. "They are allowed to do certain things because they are responding to an emergency."

It was a big win for the city of Dallas. Experts say had the lawsuit proceeded, it would have made it difficult for emergency vehicles across the state to respond quickly to calls, fearing a suit every time they went out on a call.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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