A defamation lawsuit filed last year by an angry property owner against a Kentucky fire department and its fire chief has been dismissed. David Young, owner of Vincent Apartments, sued the city of Ashland and Fire Chief Scott Penick over comments the chief made to a reporter following the code related condemnation of the building. Several other code officials were also named in the lawsuit.
Chief Penick made the remarks on January 6, 2010 to a reporter for the Daily Independent, concluding that the building was in a dangerous condition. Young claimed the chief’s remarks were false, malicious, defamatory, and damaged his reputation. The building was evacuated of tenants following the condemnation.
On January 4, 2011, Judge C. David Hagerman concluded that the chief’s statements were "fair comment on matters of public concern", and “clearly based upon the facts". In particular, there were missing fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, a faulty alarm system, and problems with a fire escape.