Mother of Developmentally Disabled Woman Sues Portland Fire Bureau for $1 Million

The Portland, Oregon Fire Department is facing a rather unusual discrimination suit filed on behalf of a developmentally disabled woman that contends the department misconstrued and is interfering with a “friendship” the woman has with a Portland firefighter.

The suit was filed in August by Randi Jones, the mother and guardian ad litem for Brandy Tuchscherer. Brandy, who is reported to be in her 30s, claims that her friendship with a firefighter identified in the suit as “CM”, resulted in the department obtaining criminal no-trespass orders, making an assortment of threats against her, and even having her arrested.

The fire department’s side is a bit different. According to Oregonlive.com, the city claims that Brandy was stalking firefighter Colin McGladrey, and her frequent appearance at fire stations was creating problems for firefighters working at the stations to which he was assigned. Oregonlive.com quoted Deputy City Attorney Ryan C. Bailey as stating that the city’s “reasonable requests were ignored,’’ and that “The city and its employees had valid, lawful, objectively reasonable and non-discriminatory grounds for all actions taken with respect to plaintiff.’’

The suit filed in US District Court alleges disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as false arrest. From the complaint:

  • Defendant violated 42 U.S.C. § 12132 and its accompanying regulations by knowingly and intentionally committing the following discriminatory acts or practices:
    • Making false claims about Plaintiff;
    • Making threatening contacts with Plaintiff;
    • Excluded Plaintiff from public property;
    • Denying Plaintiff contact with Firefighters C.M. and Rob P.L:
    • Posting Plaintiff’s photograph in fire stations, fire administration, police stations, and other public places:
    • Arresting Plaintiff;
    • Issuing a criminal trespass order against Plaintiff.
  • Defendant’s conduct showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s rights.
  • As a result Defendant’s unlawful actions, Plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer humiliation, distress, and impairment of her personal dignity and right to be free from discrimination or interference with her statutory rights.

The suit seeks damages totaling at least $1,000,000. Here is the news article on the suit. Here is a copy of the lawsuit: Jones et al v Portland

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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