Kansas Firefighter Challenges Residency Related Discipline

A Kansas firefighter who was suspended without pay pending termination for violating a residency requirement, is now suing the department, his union, the union’s business manager, the union’s attorney and the union’s attorney’s law firm. Todd Coleman filed suit in US District Court last month.

In 2016, the Kansas City Fire Department accused Coleman of violating the residency requirement. Coleman denied the accusation but admitted he operated a business outside of Wyandotte County. The department’s position was the Coleman spent more than 50% of his time outside the county and therefore was in violation of the residency requirement.

Named in the suit are the Kansas City Fire Department, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, IAFF Local 64, Local 64’s Business Manager Robert Wing, attorney Scott Brown, and the law firm of Blake & Uhlig.

Coleman, who filed the suit pro se, claims IAFF Local 64 and the union’s attorney mishandled his grievance prompting him to file unsuccessful claims with the National Labor Relation’s Board and state Public Employees Relation Board. The suit accuses the defendants of fraud, misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of Coleman’s 5th and 14th Amendment rights.

Here is a copy of the complaint: Coleman v Wyandotte County

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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