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Fire Service and Public Safety Legal Issues Blog by Curt Varone
Updated: 18 min 19 sec ago

Illinois Appellate Court Concludes Firefighting Exacerbated Combat Vet’s PTDS

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 19:10
An Illinois firefighter who developed a severe case of PTSD while serving a combat tour in Afghanistan, has been awarded a disability pension by the Illinois Court of Appeals who concluded that firefighting exacerbated his pre-existing condition.
Categories: Legal

NJ Fire Chief Demoted After Filing Suit

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 20:05
A New Jersey fire chief who sued his bosses earlier this year, has been demoted. Plainfield Fire Chief Frank Tidwell filed suit claiming city officials were conspiring to force him into retirement. Last Friday, the city released a statement that he was being demoted...
Categories: Legal

Judge Dismisses Suit Over Kentucky Firefighter Who Shot Prisoner

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 21:58
A lawsuit that accused a Kentucky firefighter of wrongfully shooting and killing a prisoner while the man was struggling for control of a police officer’s weapon, has been dismissed. Ali Sawaf, the father of Mark S. Sawaf, filed suit last year claiming that Lexington Fire Captain Brad Dobrzynski was wrong for shooting his son on August 11, 2016
Categories: Legal

Retired BC Sues Charlotte Alleging Race Discrimination

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 16:48
A veteran Charlotte battalion chief who recently took a job in another community as fire chief, has filed suit against the City of Charlotte claiming he was the victim of race discrimination. Chief Willie Summers, a 30 year veteran who recently was appointed as the fire chief in Asheboro, claims he was passed over for promotion because he was black.
Categories: Legal

Twenty Illinois Fire Departments Sued for Wrongful Death

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 14:01
The family of a man who died in a fire last year has filed suit against twenty Illinois fire departments and two chief officers claiming they failed to effect his rescue. Aric Evan Tashjian McClure died on August 4, 2017 in a fire that trapped him in a second floor apartment.
Categories: Legal

Oregon Chief Awarded $500k for Wrongful Termination

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 19:59
An Oregon fire chief who was terminated in 2013 after refusing to unilaterally reduce staffing was awarded $500,000 in damages last week. Fire Chief James Wenzel brought the lawsuit claiming that Klamath County Fire District No. 1 breached his employment contract and retaliated against him.
Categories: Legal

Fatal Fire Prompts Suit Against Illinois Fire Department

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 17:56
A volunteer fire department in Illinois is being sued over a fatal fire where firefighters were allegedly slow to respond and the department did not request mutual aid from a career fire department that was actually closer to the scene. The Village of Bartonsville is being sued by the estate of a four-year-old child who died in a house fire on July 17, 2018.
Categories: Legal

Fine Against Washington Fire Department For Understaffing Upheld

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 10:43
An OSHA fine against a Washington state fire department for understaffing has been upheld by the state’s Department of Labor and Industries. The Camas-Washougal Fire Department was cited for violating OSHA’s two-in two-out requirement at a house fire last March. The first arriving engine was staffed with two firefighters.
Categories: Legal

Dayton Sues Foam Manufacturers Over AFFF Related Contamination

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 19:03
The City of Dayton is the latest community to file suit against the nation’s largest firefighting foam manufacturers, blaming them for the contamination of the area surrounding Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The contamination is due to two toxic byproducts of AFFF, namely perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid.
Categories: Legal

US Supreme Court Considering Fire Service Case

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 19:47
In my world it is a special day when a fire service case reaches the US Supreme Court. Yesterday, oral arguments were heard in Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido, an age discrimination case out of Arizona. John Guido and Dennis Rankin were full-time captains, and the two oldest full-time employees at the Fire District when they were terminated in 2009
Categories: Legal

Ohio Chief Sues Bosses for $1 Million

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 20:10
An Ohio fire chief has filed a $1 million suit against his employer and his bosses alleging breach of contract, age discrimination and disability discrimination. Bucyrus Fire Chief Jay W. Keller filed suit last week naming the City of Bucyrus, Mayor Jeffrey Reser, and Safety-Service Director Jeffrey Wagner as defendants.
Categories: Legal

San Antonio Chief Disciplines Union President For Wearing Union Uniform

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 18:52
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood has reprimanded IAFF 624 Local President Chris Steele for wearing a uniform that closely resembled a fire department uniform at a political event. The incident occurred on September 20, 2018 at a rally for a proposed charter amendment.
Categories: Legal

Arizona Fire District Sued Over Sexual Assault Allegations

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 17:50
Allegations of sexual assault and a hostile work environment have been swirling for over a year in the Rio Rico Medical & Fire District, but this week two former firefighters filed suit against the district, a former fire chief and his wife, and a current captain and his wife.
Categories: Legal

FDNY Hearing Loss Case Reinstated

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 20:23
One hundred and fifty FDNY firefighters who filed suit in Pennsylvania against American LaFrance and Federal Signal Corporation, got good news yesterday as the Pennsylvania Superior Court reinstated their hearing loss claims. The firefighters were grouped into seven separate cohorts that filed separate lawsuits in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in 2015.
Categories: Legal

Washington Firefighters Lose Jobs Over Intubation Training on Deceased Patient

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 12:30
Two veteran officers with the Bellingham, Washington Fire Department have lost their jobs following their involvement in a training exercise last July where personnel practiced their intubation skills on a deceased patient.
Categories: Legal

Michigan Firefighter Facing Evidence Tampering Charge

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 20:04
A Michigan firefighter is facing criminal charges for picking up and allegedly removing a prescription pill bottle from the scene of a fatal motorcycle accident. Harrison Township firefighter Steven Hart has been charged with one felony count of tampering with evidence.
Categories: Legal

Texas Firefighter-Soldier Claims City Fired Him Over Wage Claim

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 18:45
A Texas firefighter who was terminated after complaining about the way his fire department was calculating his hours and compensation while on Army reserve duty has filed suit alleging retaliation under both the USERRA and the FLSA. Bradley R. Casey was a captain with the Horseshoe Bay Fire Department.
Categories: Legal

Ambulance Company Seeks To Block Augusta Fire From Providing EMS Transport

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 18:26
An ambulance company is suing one of Georgia’s regional EMS councils in an effort to block the Augusta Fire Department from taking over EMS transport. Gold Cross EMS, Inc. filed suit earlier this week in Richmond County Superior Court naming the East Central Georgia EMS Council as the sole defendant.
Categories: Legal

Social Media Posts and the Cowards Way Out

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 20:00
Today’s burning question: I am a fire chief and I want to know if I can discipline a firefighter for the comments his wife is posting on social media that demean and disparage me and the fire department if I know he is behind it. Answer: Ah yes, the proverbial “coward’s way out”: using one’s spouse as a mouthpiece to criticize the fire chief and the fire department.
Categories: Legal

Florida Possum Festival Lawsuit Dismissed

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 16:50
Hey, stop laughing, this is serious business. The infamous Possum Festival Lawsuit of 2017 has been dismissed. The federal suit was brought against Wausau Fire Chief Samuel Rudd and the Town of Wausau by former County Commissioner Lynn Gothard over a political advertisement that she wanted published in a pamphlet the fire department was preparing for the 2016 Wausau Possum Festival.
Categories: Legal