Fire Marshal Blames Union and Mayor For His Removal

Former Los Angeles Fire Marshal John Vidovich has filed a lawsuit accusing Mayor Eric Garcetti and IAFF Local 112, the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC) of conspiring to remove him as fire marshal.

The suit filed yesterday in Los Angeles County Superior Court claims the union was upset with Chief Vidovich’s reforms of the LA fire prevention division, and sought his removal. In August, 2016 he was removed as fire marshal and reassigned to the Mayor’s Office. According to the complaint:

  • Plaintiffs ouster was in direct retaliation for Plaintiffs reporting of illegal and fraudulent acts he discovered in his job as Fire Marshal that were being committed by certain members of the City’s Fire Protection Bureau
  • the UNION began a public relations campaign that falsely painted Plaintiff as an incompetent leader who put firefighters and the public at risk.
  • the same individuals whose misconduct Plaintiff had observed and reported, led the campaign to falsely impugn the reputation and integrity of Plaintiff.
  • As part of this campaign, the UNION also began feeding the press false stories about Plaintiff.
  • Plaintiff … alleges, that in exchange for Mayor Garcetti’s agreement to ratify the UNION’s retaliation against Plaintiff by removing him from his job as Fire Marshal, the UNION agreed to endorse the Mayor for re-election in March 2017, and further agreed to contribute to his re-election campaign.

The 19-page 92-paragraph complaint alleges 7 counts:

  1. Violations of Labor Code § 1102.5
  2. Aiding and Abetting Violations of Labor Code § 1102.5
  3. Violations of the Private Attorneys General Act Labor Code §2698 et seq.
  4. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
  5. Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage
  6. Negligent Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage
  7. Civil Conspiracy

It names the City of Los Angeles and Local 112 as defendants.

Here is a copy of the complaint: vidovich-v-los-angeles

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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