California City Settles Discrimination Suit for $2.6 Million

The City of Montebello has agreed to settle a race discrimination suit with an African American firefighter for $2.6 million.

Last year a jury awarded Captain Vernon Creswell $750,000 for racial harassment and $189,000 for retaliation. He claimed he had been subjected to the use of racial slurs and hostility by superiors and fellow firefighters alike. A battalion chief who Captain Creswell accused of repeatedly using racial slurs was subsequently fired and Creswell’s attorney was awarded $1.6 million in fees.

The city appealed the verdict, and while the appeal was pending the parties reached a settlement whereby Captain Creswell will receive a total of close to $2.6 million. He remains on the job in Montebello.

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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