Lexington Settles OT Dispute for $17.7 Million

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government has agreed to settle a long-standing overtime dispute with its firefighters for a reported $17.7 million. The case was originally filed in November, 2005 in Fayette Circuit Court by 430 current and former firefighters who claimed the county had miscalculated their overtime compensation.

The case took a convoluted route over the ensuing years as the trial court ruled against the firefighters in 2007 based on sovereign immunity. In 2010, the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, but had to reverse itself in 2012 after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in another fire department case, Madison County Fiscal v. Kentucky Labor, 352 S.W.3d 572 (Ky. 2011), that the Kentucky legislature waived sovereign immunity for wage and hour matters.

Thereafter, it was no longer a question of whether Lexington-Fayette County had to pay, but rather how much and when. While the $17.7 million is a large amount, it not unprecedented. Louisville, Kentucky had to pay its firefighters $45 million in 2009 under virtually identical circumstances.

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.
  • mr618

    Boy, am I glad I’m not an FF in Kentucky. Doesn’t seem too friendly to employees.

    • Steve

      Right to Work State. You know, where everyone has the right to work, just not get paid for it.

      • mr618

        Yup. And there are blue-collar workers who vote for it like it’s the coming of the Savior, despite the fact these laws remove pretty much all their protection from unfair practices.

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