Fighting for his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jesus Jimenez helped fellow soldiers disarm enemy bombs. He made it back safely.
Fighting for his family in Miami, Jimenez was less fortunate. While he trained to ship overseas one more time, Miami-Dade County demolished his home.
His five-month-pregnant wife, Laura, was kicked out, along with his diabetic daughter, hearing-impaired brother and mother-in-law. Most of their possessions, including a beloved upright piano, were still inside.
Four year earlier, Jimenez had asked the county to delay the building-code violation proceedings against him because he was a soldier on active duty.
A Miami federal judge ruled last week that Miami-Dade violated U.S. law by failing to grant Jimenez’s request. Jimenez, now a U.S. Army staff sergeant in Fort Bliss, Texas, will pursue damages against the county and two building officials to compensate for the loss of his family’s home and the hardship they suffered.
“I feel relieved,” said Jimenez, a 49-year-old father of four. “But whatever I recover won’t be enough to do much.”