Lawsuits Filed Between Fire Departments and Municipalities in Illinois and New York

Lawsuits between municipalities and fire departments in two states are in the fire law news today.

In New York, the Champion Fire Department is suing the Town of Champion and the Village of West Carthage. The fire department claims the town improperly terminated their service contract, and then contracted with the Village of West Carthage for fire protection.

The town claims the fire department failed to provide required information including records of firefighters’ physical examinations. The fire department denies that allegation and filed suit in Supreme Court seeking a court order reinstating the agreement.

The fire department is being represented by our good friend, Fire-Lawyer Brad Pinsky. Chief Pinsky has been gracious enough to provide us with a copy of the complaint: Champion VFD v Town of Champion

More on the story.

In Illinois, the Village of Barrington filed suit against the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District claiming it owes at least $1.2 million to a joint firefighters pension fund. The District denies the allegation claiming it owes village nothing.

The dispute had its origins back in 2013 when the fire district separated from the village-run fire department. At the time questions arose about pension contribution obligations, and led to negotiations in September, 2014 aimed at resolving the dispute. However, the parties remain at odds.

According to Village Manager Jeff Lawler, the filing of the suit “is unfortunate, but it’s of their doing, Prior to the split, for 19 years [the district] paid under this formula.”

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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