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FDNY Prevails in Gas Explosion Lawsuit

1 day 1 hour ago
A lawsuit filed against FDNY over a 2014 gas explosion on Staten Island has been dismissed. The suit alleged that firefighters allowed a homeowner to enter his gas filled home, and trigger the explosion by turning on a light switch.
Curt Varone

Retired NY Assistant Chief Sued For Wage Overpayment

2 days 1 hour ago
The City of Yonkers has filed suit against a retired Assistant Chief claiming it overpaid him by more than $300,000, and he has refused to refund the amount in question. The suit names Assistant Chief Thomas Cavallo, who was awarded a disability retirement on March 26, 2019.
Curt Varone

Another Wrongful Conviction Arson Case – NY This Time

3 days 1 hour ago
A New York man who served over eight years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of arson, will be allow to continue his false arrest, malicious prosecution and civil rights suit against numerous defendants including two fire departments and four firefighters.
Curt Varone

Illinois Lieutenant Claims Arson Charges Were Fabricated

4 days 2 hours ago
A black Illinois fire lieutenant who was acquitted of arson charges last year for a 2015 fire has filed suit in US District Court alleging that state and local investigators fabricated evidence and tried to frame him. Lt. Samuel Wilson of the Country Club Hills Fire Department was charged with setting fire to a sports bar in Sauk Village.
Curt Varone

Burning Question: Limiting Off-Duty Work

5 days ago
Today’s Burning Question: Amid the pandemic we are facing my department has instituted new orders to prepare for the near future. Many of our firefighters serve at surrounding fire departments as part-time members. Can the department place restrictions on their off-duty work? Answer: In ordinary times, a fire department that seeks to limit the outside employment of off-duty members faces a number of hurtles.
Curt Varone

Burning Question: COVID 19 and HIPAA Hysteria

1 week ago
Today’s Burning Question: Does HIPAA allow first responders to be notified of critical information such as the addresses of positive covid-19 patients? Answer: HIPAA Hysteria… I do not know why HIPAA gets blamed for being a boogey-man, but HIPAA does not prohibit fire and EMS personnel from conveying necessary information to each other.
Curt Varone

Kentucky Firefighter Charged With Sexual Abuse of Colleague

1 week 2 days ago
A Kentucky firefighter has been fired from one department and suspended without pay from a second after he was accused of having unwanted sexual contact with a colleague in the firehouse. Elijah Mays was arrested earlier this week, hours after he allegedly assaulted a female colleague
Curt Varone

Coronavirus Shift Change and the FLSA

1 week 3 days ago
Today’s burning question: Our firefighters work a 24-48 schedule on a 28-day work period. In light of the coronavirus emergency, we have decided to implement a 7-day on, 14-day off schedule. We have a very light workload and do not anticipate exhaustion being an issue. Does the FLSA prohibit such a schedule? And if not, how would we implement it?
Curt Varone

Junk Science Arson-Murder Conviction Leads to Wrongful Prosecution Suit

1 week 5 days ago
A Kentucky man who served 12 years for an arson-related murder that he was subsequently cleared of, has filed suit against a number of arson investigators and law enforcement officers who he claims “conspired to frame him for various offenses, including… capital murder… attempted murder … and first-degree of arson.”
Curt Varone

Tennessee Supreme Court Upholds Termination of Firefighter

2 weeks 1 day ago
The termination of a Tennessee firefighter who was fired in 2015 following an off-duty altercation, has been upheld by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Paul Zachary Moss was fired by the Shelby County Fire Department following a no-contest plea to charges that he assaulted two men with a firearm.
Curt Varone

California Firefighter and City Settle Discrimination Suit

2 weeks 2 days ago
A lawsuit accusing the La Habra Heights Fire Department of religious discrimination and sexual harassment, has been settled. Former volunteer firefighter Jared Hartstein filed the suit in LA County Superior Court accusing the department of terrorizing him throughout his five months of training.
Curt Varone

Collateral Damage Discipline of Boston Lieutenants Reversed

2 weeks 3 days ago
In a particularly blunt decision, the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has overturned the discipline of two Boston fire lieutenants referring to them as “collateral damage for what appears to be a strategic move to counter” race discrimination allegations. Lt Marc Hayhurst and Lt Brian Summering were suspended for two tours each.
Curt Varone

Massachusetts Ambulance Provider Resolves Collection Complaints By Cancelling $1.6 Million in Charges

2 weeks 4 days ago
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced last week that a local ambulance service will be canceling nearly $1.6 million in EMS transport charges and paying $50,000 in restitution to resolve consumer protection complaints into its collection practices. The AG's office began investigating Trinity EMS, Inc., attorney Robert White, and Stevens Business Services.
Curt Varone

Washington State Supreme Court Allows Staffing Decision to Stand

3 weeks 1 day ago
The Supreme Court of Washington ruled last week that a decision by the Court of Appeals holding that staffing is a bargainable subject for firefighters, will not be overturned. The case was brought by the City of Everett in an effort to overturn a decision by the state’s PERC.
Curt Varone

Phoenix Prevails in Wrongful Arrest Suit Over Arson Case

3 weeks 2 days ago
A lawsuit filed against the City of Phoenix by man who spent 14 months in jail on arson charges for an accidental fire, has been dismissed. Carl Vincent Ball Caples claimed the city violated his civil rights when investigators charged him with arson.
Curt Varone

Tucson Prevails in Termination Suit

3 weeks 2 days ago
A probationary Tucson firefighter who was terminated in 2015, has lost the appeal of his wrongful termination suit. Michael Burroughs sued the city claiming he was retaliated against because he filed a workers’ comp claim and because he was the victim of disability discrimination.
Curt Varone

California Fire Chief Sues for Wrongful Termination

3 weeks 4 days ago
A California fire chief who was terminated last year has filed suit alleging wrongful termination and an assortment of employment related counts. Larry Whithorn, who was promoted to fire chief in West Covina in December, 2014, was terminated by the city on April 22, 2019.
Curt Varone
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Fire Service and Public Safety Legal Issues Blog by Curt Varone
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