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Fire Service and Public Safety Legal Issues Blog by Curt Varone
Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

Cleveland Investigating Cheating On Promotional Exam

Mon, 12/11/2017 - 20:47
Cleveland officials are investigating allegations of cheating on a fire department promotional exam. The test was administered last summer to 147 members seeking promotion to lieutenant and captain.
Categories: Legal

Florida Firefighter Awarded $245k for Gender Discrimination

Sun, 12/10/2017 - 17:21
A federal court jury has awarded a Tampa firefighter $245,000 for sex discrimination. Tanja Vidovic was awarded the verdict last week following a four-week. She alleged gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation.
Categories: Legal

FDNY Sued Again Over Race Discrimination

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 10:50
Seven civilian employees of FDNY have filed a 59 page civil suit in federal court alleging that wide-ranging and systemic race discrimination persists in the department. The suit was filed December 1, 2017 seeking class action status for three groups of individuals, identified as “Job Selection Class”, “Compensation Class”, “EMS Lieutenant Class”
Categories: Legal

The Status of Criminal Background Checks

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 16:50
Today’s burning question: Can a fire department legally conduct a criminal background check on applicants? I thought background checks were illegal now in most states except for law enforcement positions. Answer: While the laws pertaining to criminal background checks have gotten more complex, there usually is a way for a fire department to evaluate an ...
Categories: Legal

Providence Fire Settles Discrimination Suit for $7500

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 19:57
The City of Providence has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a Hispanic firefighter who claims he was discriminated against. Renato Alarcon filed suit in 2015 claiming that his treatment in Engine 10 was discriminatory and led to his transfer in 2013. The suit filed in US District Court named three firefighter-colleagues, Captain ...
Categories: Legal

San Francisco Fire Launches Probe Into Racism at Academy

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 23:36
On the heels of a written complaint submitted by eight firefighter recruits who call themselves the “brave men of color,” the San Francisco Fire Department has launched a formal investigation into the treatment of recruits at the fire academy
Categories: Legal

Oregon Fire Department Sued For $3.5 Million Over Sexual Assault of Junior Firefighter

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 13:52
A junior firefighter who claims to have been sexual assaulted by a firefighter is now suing an Oregon fire department for $3.5 million. The girl identified as Donna Doe filed suit last Friday against the Monroe Rural Fire Protection District.
Categories: Legal

$2 Million Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over Gatlinburg Wildland Fire

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 20:47
The family of a man killed in the wildland fire that tore through Gatlinburg, Tennessee last year has filed suit against Sevier County and the city. Deborah Spillers, the daughter of Gatlinburg pastor Rev. Ed Taylor, filed suit Monday in Sevier County Circuit Court accusing the city and county of negligence. The suit seeks $2 million in damages.
Categories: Legal

West Virginia Deputy Sheriff’s Tasing of Firefighter Leads to Federal Lawsuit

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 20:55
An assistant fire chief in West Virginia who took issue with a county deputy sheriff at an incident scene in 2015, is suing the deputy and the sheriff’s department claiming the same deputy tased him at an incident scene in 2016 and later had him arrested.
Categories: Legal

NY Chief Sues Over 9/11 Related Illness

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 13:55
The fire chief in Utica was in court yesterday pressing the city to have his leukemia treated as a 9/11 related illness. Fire Chief Russell Brooks filed suit against the City for denying his claim that his chronic lymphocytic leukemia was brought on by his work at the World Trade Center in 2001.
Categories: Legal

Suspension of NY Firefighter For Facebook Post Prompts $500k Federal Suit

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 20:25
A volunteer firefighter who was suspended over a Facebook post earlier this year, has filed suit against the city, the fire chief, and others involved in his suspension. James Squicciarini alleges that his Constitutional rights were violated when the Amityville Volunteer Fire Department suspended him over a photo he posted on Facebook.
Categories: Legal

California Fire Department Named In RICO Suit Over Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Sun, 11/26/2017 - 21:43
The Kern County Fire Department has been named as a defendant in a wide-ranging federal Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) lawsuit filed by the principals in a medical marijuana dispensary.
Categories: Legal

Complaints About Austin’s Peeping Lieutenant Expand

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 21:13
An Austin fire lieutenant who resigned in September amidst a criminal investigation into his having secretly filmed female subordinates in fire station locker rooms, is in the news again as firefighters are claiming they reported inappropriate behavior to the department years ago.
Categories: Legal

Denial of Disability Pension Reversed Due to Bias By Pension Board Members

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 20:01
An Illinois firefighter who claims she was sexually harassed to the point she became disabled, has prevailed in the appeal of the denial of her disability pension because three of the five pension board members participated in the harassment. Sugar Grove Fire Protection District lieutenant Sara Naden claims she was forced off the job in March, 2014
Categories: Legal

Orlando Firefighter Fired For On Scene Recording

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 20:29
An Orlando firefighter was fired today for recording an EMS run involving an elected official. Firefighter Joshua Granada reportedly admitted to using his cellphone to audio record part of a medical run involving Commissioner Regina Hill.
Categories: Legal

SC Chief Sentenced to 33 Months For Embezzlement

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 19:44
A South Carolina fire chief who was convicted of embezzling funds from his department has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison. US Attorney Beth Drake announced today that Judge Richard Gergel had handed down the sentence to former St. Paul’s Fire Chief Doc Matthews
Categories: Legal

Detroit Captain Reinstated by Arbitrator

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 19:00
A Detroit Fire Department captain who was terminated last summer after a series of racist posts, has been reinstated by an arbitrator. Captain Tim Goodman was suspended and later terminated over Facebook posts that were characterized as ““xenophobic and racist” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Michigan.
Categories: Legal

Iowa Chief Remains in Limbo

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 18:11
The fire chief of Davenport, Iowa, who won the civil service appeal of her firing two weeks ago, remains in limbo as the city mulls its options. Fire Chief Lynn Washburn was fired earlier this year by City Administrator Corri Spiegel.
Categories: Legal

Shreveport Fire and Two Medics Sued In Wrongful Conviction Case

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 13:37
The Shreveport Fire Department and two paramedics are being sued by a man who spent three years on death row after being wrongly convicted of murdering his infant son. Rodricus Crawford was convicted in 2013 of murdering his son, Roderius Lott, on February 16, 2012.
Categories: Legal

South Carolina Fire Chief Indicted Over Asbestos in Station

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 19:49
The fire chief and the city administrator of Marion, South Carolina have been indicted for having allowed firefighters and members of the public to use a fire department building containing asbestos. Fire Chief Ralph Walton Cooper III and city administrator Alan Thomas Ammons were indicted on November 2, 2017 .
Categories: Legal