Omaha Defamation Suit Settled

A defamation suit filed by an IAFF union president against a local business leader has been settled. The contentious suit followed a radio talk show where a self-appointed government reformer accused the president of “acting in an illegal and dishonest manner in exercising his employment duties with the City of Omaha” and of “receiving money from public funds” that weren’t due to him.

Back in November of 2010, Steve LeClair, the president of Omaha Firefighters  IAFF Local 385, filed a lawsuit against Omaha Alliance for the Private Sector and its president David Nabity. Nabity has been a vocal critic of the Omaha Fire Department, with a publically stated agenda to reform local government and “weed out waste, inefficiency, and corruption”.

Nabity filed a countersuit against LeClair, alleging he was attempting to silence his legitimate complaints about government by filing a SLAPP suit (strategic litigation against public participation). Most states, including Nebraska, have anti-SLAPP statutes that make it illegal to file a lawsuit intended to censor, intimidate, and silence a critic by burdening them with the cost and/or intimidation.

The settlement calls for each side to pay its own attorneys fees, and Nabity will pay LeClair $9,000. According to Nabity, his insurance company recommended the settlement and agreed to pay the $9,000.

Here are some of the documents related to the case:

LeClair Deposition LeClair-Depositioin

Release and Settlement Agreement release-and-settlement-agreement

Joint Statement Joint-statement

Joint Stipulation

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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