A grand jury in San Bernardino has indicted a couple for involuntary manslaughter for their role in sparking a wildland fire that claimed the life of a firefighter last year. Refugio Manuel Jimenez, Jr. and Angelina Renee Jimenez were indicted on July 19, 2021 on 30 counts related to the El Dorado Fire in September 2020.
The Court of Appeals of Washington has ruled that the public duty doctrine offers no liability protection to Seattle firefighters who responded to the wrong address for a cardiac arrest. The case involved a suit brought by Delaura and Fred Norg after Fred suffered a heart attack in 2017.
Two former volunteer firefighters who sued their fire department for expelling them, have been arrested and charged with theft for using fire company funds to pay the attorney they retained to file their lawsuit.
An Indiana firefighter has been charged with stealing $20,000 in township funds. Christopher L. McKain, 44, has been charged with felony theft and felony forgery by the Indiana State Police.
A woman who was terminated from an administrative manager position with an Arizona fire district has filed suit against the board, three board members, and a former fire chief alleging retaliation and disability discrimination. Karen Jackson filed suit in federal court naming the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District.
A Washington state fire chief who was awarded $735k earlier this year, has reached a settlement of his wrongful termination and defamation suits. Fire Chief David Bathke was terminated in 2019 by Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler after he refused her requests to resign.
A Nevada firefighter is facing second-degree murder charges following the overdose death of his wife. Tiffany Slatsky died on February 23, 2020 from a combination of cocaine, ecstasy and morphine. Her husband, Christopher Candito was a firefighter-paramedic with the city of North Las Vegas at the time.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a district court ruling holding that the City of Loves Park, Illinois did not violate the Constitutional rights of a woman by forcing entry into her home, seizing 37 cats, and condemning her home. A key point in the ruling was the comment of Loves Park Fire Chief Philip Foley that the smell coming from the home could "gag a maggot."
The owners of a business in Bangladesh where 52 workers died in a fire have been arrested and charged with murder. The fire occurred in a juice factory last week in the town of Rupganj. Among the 52 fatalities were as many as 16 children, some as young as 11 years old.
A lawsuit brought by a Massachusetts firefighter unhappy with the fire chief for requiring his photo to be taken, has been dismissed. Thomas Swartz, a now-retired firefighter-paramedic with the Borne Fire Department, claims Fire Chief Norman Sylvester ordered him to pose for a photo, and suspended him without pay when he refused.
Congress has released the text of a bill introduced in the House and more recently in the Senate that would “provide collective bargaining rights for fire fighters and emergency medical services personnel employed by States or their political subdivisions.”
The Supreme Court of New Jersey handed down a decision today upholding a grievance arbitration award requiring the Borough of Carteret to pay lieutenants who act as captain at the captain’s rate of pay. The decision reverses an appellate division that found the arbitrator "engrafted terms” not agreed to by the parties.
A volunteer firefighter for the City of Loris, South Carolina has filed suit claiming he was retaliated against and fired for complaining about allegedly illegal activities by city officials. Robert Rudelitch was dismissed from the Loris Fire Department on October 10, 2020.
A Georgia fire chief who was terminated last year after refusing to resign, has filed suit naming the City of Monroe, the city manager and the police chief as defendants. Fire Chief William Owens filed suit accusing the city of violating his constitutional rights, illegally intercepting electronic communications in violation of Georgia law, whistleblower retaliation, and invasion of privacy.
A Michigan fire captain who resigned in 2017, has lost his lawsuit against his former fire department for wrongful discharge and violating his First Amendment rights. Kevin Corsini was a captain with the City of Hazel Park Fire Department.
A captain with the Sacramento Metro Fire Department is fighting allegations related to both state and federal firearms charges. Captain Derik Oakes remains on the job despite a raid on his home in 2019 that resulted in the seizure of several weapons the media refers to as “assault weapons,” but firearms enthusiasts know as AR-15s and AK-47s.
Two firefighters from Dallas Fire Rescue have been named in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a man who died while in police custody. Juan Segovia died on June 30, 2019 after being found unresponsive and transported by Dallas Police to the City Detention Center, referred to in the complaint as the “drunk tank.”
A lawsuit filed by ten Jacksonville firefighters who were injured in a ship fire will proceed as the trial court rejected defense motions to dismiss their claims based on the Firefighters’ Rule. The injured firefighters were caught in an explosion aboard the cargo ship Hoegh Xiamen.
A Delaware court has overturned an interest arbitration ruling that would have allowed the City of Wilmington to implement a three-platoon schedule for its firefighters as opposed to the four platoon schedule they had been working.
Colorado Senator John W. Hickenlooper and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan have co-sponsored a bill that would "provide collective bargaining rights for fire fighters and emergency medical services personnel employed by States or their political subdivisions."
Fire Service and Public Safety Legal Issues Blog by Curt Varone
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