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Fire Service and Public Safety Legal Issues Blog by Curt Varone
Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

Oakland Dismissed from San Pablo Avenue Fire Suit

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 13:19
An Alameda County Superior Court judge has dismissed the City of Oakland from a lawsuit over the deaths of four people in fire at a halfway house last year. Judge Brad Seligman ruled that the state’s immunity laws shielded the city from liability despite criticism that fire inspectors did “too little too late”.
Categories: Legal

Anaheim Firefighter Claims Gender and Ethnicity Discrimination

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 20:08
A firefighter who was let go prior to the end of her probationary period with the Anaheim Fire Department has filed suit claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination on account of her Mexican ancestry. Anna Araujo filed suit earlier this month in Orange County Superior Court.
Categories: Legal

Four FDNY Firefighters Challenge Shaving Requirement As Discriminatory

Sun, 08/19/2018 - 20:11
Four African American firefighters have filed suit against the City of New York challenging FDNY’s requirement that they be “clean shaven”. The firefighters claim the city's policy is part of a deliberate effort to “thin the ranks of African American firefighters.”
Categories: Legal

Wilmington Brownout LODD Suit Filed

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 19:36
The long-awaited suit brought by three seriously injured Wilmington, Delaware firefighters along with the families of three firefighters who died in a building fire in 2016 was filed today in US District Court for the District of Delaware. The fire on September 24, 2016 claimed the lives of Lieutenant Christopher Leach, FF Ardythe Hope, and FF Jerry Fickes.
Categories: Legal

Demo Derby Injury Prompts Suit Against Ohio Fire Department

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 20:58
A man who was injured at a demolition derby hosted by an Ohio fire department has filed suit against the department and two of its organizers. Jeffrey Gilger filed suit against the Negley Volunteer Fire Department Association and two event organizers claiming that he was injured at an event at the Rogers fire station on October 8, 2017.
Categories: Legal

Missouri Local Files Three Suits Over Pay Issues

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 21:26
Firefighters in St. Charles, Missouri have filed three suits against the city alleging the city has been underpaying them. St. Charles Firefighters IAFF Local 757 claims the city owes them over $300,000 and the dispute is driving firefighters out of the department.
Categories: Legal

Pennsylvania Teen Charged With Stealing Fire Truck

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 20:18
A former junior firefighter with the Strinestown Community Fire Department has been charged with stealing one of the department’s fire trucks and taking it for a joyride last Sunday. The youth was observed on surveillance video using a stolen Ford Explorer to push in an overhead door to access the fire station.
Categories: Legal

Texas Lieutenant Loses Progressive Discipline Appeal

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 19:33
A Texas lieutenant who was suspended indefinitely for being rude on an emergency run, and who convinced an independent hearing examiner that the penalty violated principles of progressive discipline, has lost his appeal to keep his job. Lt. Fabian Scott Butler of the Big Spring Fire Department was suspended following a run to the Federal Correction Institute at Big Spring.
Categories: Legal

Burning Question on Different Rates Of Pay

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 16:57
Today’s burning question: Can a municipality change your pay rate depending on the job/situation? Answer: There is nothing in the Fair Labor Standards Act that prohibits an employer from playing employees different rates of pay when working in different jobs, or even working the same job at different times.
Categories: Legal

LA Firefighter Sues for Race Discrimination

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 16:25
A veteran Los Angeles City firefighter has filed suit against the city and up to 100 unnamed firefighters claiming he was harassed and discriminated against because he is African American, and then retaliated against once he complained. Firefighter-Paramedic Emanuel Brown filed the suit Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Categories: Legal

Nevada Firefighter Union Sued By Mayoral Candidate

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 19:31
A Nevada man who ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of the town of Fernley has filed suit against a firefighters’ union that he claims defamed him during the campaign. Ryan Hanan filed suit last month accusing IAFF Local 4547, North Lyon County Firefighters Association, of defaming him on Facebook by posting false statements about his service as a firefighter.
Categories: Legal

Florida Appeals Court Rules Against Former Palm Beach Battalion Chief

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 22:09
A Florida appellate court has ruled against a former battalion chief who sued the Town of Palm Beach following his demotion and termination. Former Battalion Chief Jason Weeks sued the town for fraud, conspiracy to defame, negligent supervision, negligent interference with a prospective advantageous business relationship, and denial of due process.
Categories: Legal

RI Union President Sues Town

Sun, 08/05/2018 - 15:15
Another lawsuit has been filed in the ongoing battle between the firefighters and the town administration in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. IAFF Local 3328 union president William Perry filed suit against the town, Town Council President Sue Cieniki, Town Manager Gail Corrigan, and Finance Director Linda Dykeman alleging violations of the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act and the Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act.
Categories: Legal

Greek Wildland Fire Prompts Lawsuit

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 16:38
A wildland fire that claimed the lives of at least 91 people in the Greek village of Mati on July 23, has already sparked a lawsuit by the relatives of two of the victims. The victims, 70-year-old Vassilis Katsargyris and 73-year-old Maria Pagomenou were trying to evacuate their home in the neighborhood of Neos Voutzas when they were trapped by the fire.
Categories: Legal

Indiana AG Sues Former Fire Department Treasurer for Over $575k

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 21:15
The attorney general for Indiana has filed suit against the former treasurer of a volunteer fire department to recover not only the $185k in department funds he is accused of misappropriating plus $50k in additional costs the department incurred, but a statutory damage award of three times the fire department’s actual damages for a total of $575k.
Categories: Legal

Illinois Appeals Court Agrees With Union That Residency Award Invalid

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 19:38
An Illinois appeals court has upheld a decision that a firefighter’s union cannot be compelled to bargain over a residency requirement. The case involved the Oak Lawn Professional Firefighters Association IAFF Local 3405 and the Village of Oak Lawn, who were negotiating a collective bargaining agreement for 2015-2017.
Categories: Legal

Hawaii Firefighter Loses Stress Related Discrimination Suit

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 21:00
A lieutenant who was initially demoted and then fired due to his inability to function under stress, has lost his lawsuit claiming disability discrimination. Randy L. Baab, a firefighter at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, claims he developed a stress related disability in 2014 after an assistant chief “yelled at” him during a training exercise.
Categories: Legal

South Carolina Firefighter Sues Over Dyslexia-Related Discrimination

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 19:17
A South Carolina volunteer firefighter who claims he was passed over as a full-timer because of his dyslexia has filed suit alleging disability discrimination. Christopher Gallagher filed suit last month accusing the Surfside Beach Fire Department of violating the American With Disability Act Amendment Act (ADAAA).
Categories: Legal

Delaware LODD Prompts Suit Over Non-Locking Carabiner

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 15:16
The estate of a Delaware firefighter killed in a helicopter training exercise in 2016 has filed suit against the companies that sold the harness system he was wearing when he fell to his death. Timothy McClanahan died when he fell about 100 feet from a Delaware State Police helicopter during a hoist training exercise.
Categories: Legal

Spokane Fire Issues Punishment Following Harassment Investigation

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 18:51
The Spokane Fire Department has announced that it will be disciplining five firefighters following an investigation into sexual harassment and bullying in the department. Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer and IAFF Local 29 President Randy Marler issued a joint statement yesterday.
Categories: Legal