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Fire Service and Public Safety Legal Issues Blog by Curt Varone
Updated: 2 hours 18 min ago

NY State Sues Foam Manufacturers Over AFFF Contamination

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 18:08
The state of New York has join a growing list of plaintiffs suing the nation’s firefighting foam manufacturers over groundwater contamination problems associated with AFFF. The suit alleges that 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products LP, Chemguard, Inc., Buckeye Fire Equipment Company, National Foam, Inc., and Kidde-Fenwal, Inc. are responsible for groundwater contamination at various sites throughout the state where firefighters have used AFFF.
Categories: Legal

Burning Question About Bully Bosses and Insubordination

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 18:11
Today’s burning question: My immediate supervisor recently called me into a conference room and berated me, called me a sandbagger and used numerous expletives (predominantly dropping the "F bomb"). It got so bad, the administrative assistant down the hall heard the berating and walked in because she was concerned about my welfare. As he was in the middle of cussing me I stood up to leave and was told if I left I would face discipline and that I was ordered to sit down or face insubordination charges.
Categories: Legal

Akron Firefighters Can’t Catch A Break

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 14:32
I hate to pile’on…. but since the news couldn’t get much worse for the Akron Fire Department following yesterday’s firehouse porn video revelation, why not get all the bad news over with at once. Former IAFF Local 330 treasurer Joseph Ruhlin, 41, was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison for stealing an estimated $500,000 from his brother and sister firefighters.
Categories: Legal

Two Akron Firefighters Investigated for Making Firehouse Porn YCMTSU

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:08
Two Akron firefighters who “were known to be in a long-term relationship” have been relieved of duty as the city investigates allegations that they made a porn video in one of the city’s firehouses. Ellen Lander Nischt, a spokesperson for Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, confirmed the allegations and the investigation today. The video was reportedly posted online.
Categories: Legal

Detroit Firefighter Loses Reverse Discrimination Appeal

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 21:50
The Michigan Court of Appeals has rejected the appeal of a Detroit firefighter who claims he failed his probationary period as a lieutenant on account of his race and disability discrimination. Toby O’Brien claims his demotion in 2014 was attributable to his dyslexia and because he is white.
Categories: Legal

Fire Law Headlines and a Familiar Name

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:01
Some folks just can’t seem to keep themselves out of the headlines. For instance, take FDNY’s Joseph Cassano, who was suspended yesterday after he was cited for trespassing on the Jersey Shore. Cassano, the son of former Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano, has been in the Fire Law Blog news at least six times prior to today.
Categories: Legal

Negligence Suit Reinstated Against Four New York Fire Departments

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 16:30
Supreme Court of New York’s Appellate Division has reinstated a suit against four volunteer fire departments alleging negligence in fighting a house fire in 2014. Franciszek C. Kulon claims the Liberty Fire District, Loch Sheldrake FD, Grahamsville Volunteer FD, and the Neversink FD were grossly negligent when they responded to his home on February 18, 2014.
Categories: Legal

NYPD Investigating Non Arrests in FDNY Medals Day Brawl

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:09
NYPD has opened an internal affairs investigation into why no FDNY firefighters were arrested after a brawl broke out at a Bronx bar following medal’s day celebrations last week. The fight at Billy’s Bar near Yankee Stadium last Wednesday was between members of Rescue 3 and members from Ladder Company 49 - Engine Company 68.
Categories: Legal

London Chiefs Under Investigation For Shelter In Place Decision

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 18:11
Today’s burning question: Could London’s fire chief and other senior fire officials be prosecuted over their decision to advise residents of the Grenfell Tower to shelter-in-place? Answer: According to the Telegraph, police officials are investigating whether senior fire officials should be charged in regards to their role in the deaths of residents in Grenfell Tower high rise fire. Seventy-two people died in the fire that engulfed the 23-story building on June 14, 2017.
Categories: Legal

Illinois Judge Orders Sanctions Against Fire Department in Sexual Harassment Case

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 19:24
An Illinois judge has agreed to issue sanctions against a fire department for failing to preserve digital evidence in a sexual harassment case. The case dates back to 2012 when Country Club Hills firefighter Dena Lewis-Bystrzycki filed suit against the department, fire chief Joseph Ellington and firefighter Carl Pycz.
Categories: Legal

FDNY Sued For Bullying and Retaliation

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 21:20
A veteran Hispanic firefighter filed suit today alleging he was bullied and retaliated against by his colleagues after they learned that he sought and received claimant status under the Vulcan Society discrimination litigation in 2013.
Categories: Legal

Louisiana Firefighter Charged With Arson

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 21:19
A volunteer firefighter with the Longville Fire Department in Beauregard Parish has been charged with arson. Chance Felice was arrested Monday and charged with setting a fire in his own home. He is facing a single count of simple arson.
Categories: Legal

Virginia Beach Firefighters Complain About Training In Asbestos Containing Structure

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 20:38
A live burn in an asbestos-containing acquired structure in Virginia Beach has prompted the Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters to request state and federal officials to investigate. The April 15 training exercise was in an abandoned home that the owner granted the fire department permission to use. The Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters filed complaints with the ...
Categories: Legal

Maryland Fire Company Loses Suit For Grant Funds

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 20:38
A Maryland judge has rejected the request of a volunteer fire company to order a charitable trust to award it a share of an annual grant normally made to local fire departments. The suit was filed by the Salisbury Independent Volunteer Fire Company Number One Station 13 against the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.
Categories: Legal

Boston Captain Drops Suit Against Dentist

Sun, 06/03/2018 - 19:16
A lawsuit filed last year by a Boston fire captain for injuries he sustained at a fatal fire in 2016, has been voluntarily dismissed. Captain Kevin Garry was injured at a building fire in the dental office of Dr. Walter Holman.
Categories: Legal

Origins of the 7K Firefighter Overtime Exemption

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 19:55
Today’s burning question: I was wondering if you knew the origin of the firefighter exemption from the 40-hour work week? Has there ever been a push to remove that exemption? Answer: The law you are referring to is the Fair Labor Standards Act, and more specifically 29 USC 207k within the act.
Categories: Legal

Retired KCMO Firefighter Claims Race Discrimination Forced Him Off The Job

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 18:38
A Kansas City, Missouri firefighter who retired in 2014 has filed a race discrimination suit claiming that after he was repeatedly passed over for promotion to captain he had no choice but to retire. Travis Yeargans filed suit yesterday alleging that he was “constructively discharged”.
Categories: Legal

West Virginia Supreme Court Upholds LODD Benefits to Widow

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 16:30
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruled today that the widow of a firefighter who suffered a heart attack after transporting a patient to the hospital is entitled to worker’s compensation dependent benefits. FF-EMT Garry Rose of the McMechen Volunteer Fire Department, died on February 6, 2015
Categories: Legal

Man Who Lost Wife and Daughters in Gatlinburg Fire Sues Park Service For $14 million

Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:30
A man who lost his wife and two daughters in the devastating wildland fire that tore through Gatlinburg in 2016, has filed a $14 million lawsuit against the National Park Service claiming negligence by its supervisors allowed the fire to grow to an uncontrollable size. Michael B. Reed filed suit last week naming the United States of America as the sole defendant.
Categories: Legal

Junior Program Sexual Assault Prompts Civil Suit in Pennsylvania

Sun, 05/27/2018 - 19:04
The family of a junior firefighter in Pennsylvania who was sexually assaulted by the head of the junior program is suing the fire department and the officer. The Trucksville Volunteer Fire Department and Lieutenant Joshua James Ralston have been named as defendants in a suit.
Categories: Legal