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Fire Service and Public Safety Legal Issues Blog by Curt Varone
Updated: 1 min 52 sec ago

Georgia Firefighter Sues Over PTSD Related Termination

1 hour 3 min ago
A Georgia firefighter who was prevented from returning to duty after taking stress-related medical leave is suing his department claiming disability discrimination. Timothy Smallwood filed suit against Forsyth County alleging a violation of Americans With Disabilities Act.
Categories: Legal

Massachusetts Firefighter’s Case Returned to Civil Service Commission For Reconsideration

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 20:50
A Brookline firefighter has prevailed in his appeal of a Massachusetts Civil Service Commission decision that upheld his 2016 termination. Gerald Alston was fired in 2016 after years of efforts to address his workplace behavior failed.
Categories: Legal

Settlement Reported in Jacksonville Race Discrimination Suits

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 20:51
Jacksonville has reportedly reached a tentative settlement of three fire department promotion-based race discrimination lawsuits. The three suits were brought by the US Department of Justice and the EEOC and allege disparate impact discrimination in the department’s promotional process between 2004 and 2011.
Categories: Legal

Burning Question on Overtime Training

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 16:26
Today’s burning question: I am a newly appointed fire chief, and have some grave concerns about how the city is calculating firefighter overtime. When are you going to have your FLSA class in [my state]? Answer: Unfortunately we can only deliver the FLSA class three times a year, once on the East Coast, once in the Mid-West, and once in the West.
Categories: Legal

Injured Recruit Sues Nashville for $1.5 Million

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:09
A Nashville Fire Department recruit who was injured last summer in a training mishap, has filed a $1.5 million suit against the city. Jennifer Lockhart was injured on July 21, 2017 when she fell several feet while participating in a rescuing trapped firefighters exercise.
Categories: Legal

Chicago Facing Wrongful Conviction Suit by Man Falsely Accused of Arson

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:11
A 39-year-old man who was wrongfully convicted of setting a fatal fire in 1993 when he was just 14, is now suing those he claims were responsible for manufacturing a false case against him, including the City of Chicago and a city fire marshal.
Categories: Legal

Chiefs, Deployments, Reimbursements and Overtime

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 18:46
Today’s burning question: If an Assistant Chief who is classified as an exempt executive employee is deployed on a 2-week wildland or USAR deployment that is fully reimbursable through FEMA or the state, can the fire department only pay the assistant chief his regular weekly salary?
Categories: Legal

Indiana Appeals Court Upholds Ruling in Favor of Fire Department

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 19:20
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Madison Township Fire Department in the wrongful death case of a toddler who drown in his backyard swimming pool. Kinser Clayton died after falling into the family’s swimming pool. He was 15 months old at the time.
Categories: Legal

Former Alabama Fire Chief Charged

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 20:01
The former fire chief in Trussville, Alabama has been arrested and charged with 2 counts of first degree auto theft and sale, and 3 counts of ethics violations. Chief Russell Ledbetter was reportedly arrested, processed and released on bond yesterday.
Categories: Legal

California Firefighters Battle With Mayor

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 19:47
This past weekend, a local newspaper in California wrote about a nasty dispute between the mayor of the City of La Verne and the La Verne Firefighters, IAFF Local 3624, that has prompted two separate federal court lawsuits in recent months.
Categories: Legal

Indiana Captain Resigns Following Arrest for Sex With Minor

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 12:32
A captain with the Bloomington Fire Department who is facing felony charges related to a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl has tendered his resignation. Captain Robert Sears was charged with child solicitation and sexual misconduct with a minor.
Categories: Legal

Chicago Fire Investigates Medic for YCMTSU Lewd Behavior

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 19:58
A Chicago Fire Department paramedic is on paid administrative leave as the department investigates allegations that he masturbated repeatedly at work, apparently in full view of his colleagues.
Categories: Legal

Washington Firefighter Charged With Stealing Ambulance

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 19:20
A recently dismissed member of the Rosalia Fire Department has been arrested and charged with taking one of the department’s ambulances for about a nine-hour period last Sunday morning. Kelly Brown, 35, is accused of burglary and theft in connection with the ambulance joyride.
Categories: Legal

NY Firefighter Father and Son Settle Suit With Fire Company

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 20:44
A father and son who were wrongly accused of stealing donated smoke detectors from the New Hyde Park Fire Department, and who were awarded $625,000 by a federal jury last year, have agreed to settle their claims for $900,000.
Categories: Legal

California Firefighter Sues for Discrimination

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 21:19
An African-American firefighter who claims he suffered years of harassment, discrimination and retaliation on account of his race, has filed suit against the City of Fresno, city officials and 21 members of the Fresno Fire Department.
Categories: Legal

Mass Civil Service Commission Overturns Lieutenant’s Discipline

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 20:23
The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has overturned the suspension of a Rockland Fire Department lieutenant, and in the process raised questions about favoritism and racism in the department. Lt. Craig Erickson was initially disciplined over an incident when a mutual aid response as a RIT to a working structure fire was delayed as personnel argued over who was to respond.
Categories: Legal

Firehouse Altercation Leads to Charges Against Chicago Lieutenant

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 15:29
An altercation in a Chicago firehouse yesterday has led to criminal charges against a company officer. Lieutenant Leonard Johnson, 53, is facing misdemeanor battery charges following a fistfight with a firefighter at the fire station on West 95th Street.
Categories: Legal

East Greenwich Firefighters Claim Overtime Violation

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 21:44
Hardly a day goes by without a fire service FLSA lawsuit being filed or settled. This one in my own back yard is just the latest. Here is a copy of the complaint: Perry v. Town of EG 2018 Complaint
Categories: Legal

LAFD Sued Over Stretcher Mishap

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 19:54
A woman who claims she lost her unborn child while being transported on a stretcher by a Los Angeles City Fire Department ambulance crew has filed suit against the LAFD, the involved personnel and the property owner where the incident took place.
Categories: Legal

Florida Chief Accused of Massive Fraud Scheme

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 20:17
A recently retired assistant chief from Indian River County Fire Rescue, has been charged in connection with a tire-reselling scheme costing the county nearly $300,000. Assistant Chief Brian Burkeen was arrested yesterday and charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property.
Categories: Legal