Texas Whistleblower Suit Removed to Federal Court

A whistleblower lawsuit filed earlier this year by a fired Texas firefighter, has been removed to federal court. Todd Anthony Foust was terminated last year by the City of Corinth and the Lake Cities Fire Department. Foust, an 18-year veteran, claims that he was terminated in retaliation for complaints he made about firefighters using tobacco products in violation of a city ordinance as well as complaints he made about his captain.

According to the complaint, after making the complaints Foust requested a transfer to get away from the captain and the tobacco problem, but his requests were denied. Thereafter, an assistant chief and the captain began “dressing up allegations” of misconduct against him that culminated in his termination on April 5, 2018.

Foust originally filed suit in 431st District Court for Denton County alleging a single count of whistleblower retaliation under state law. That alone would not have triggered a right to remove the case to federal court. However, under relief sought, the complaint seeks injunctive relief under 42 USC §1983. According to the removal petition filed by the City of Corinth, by seeking injunctive relief under a federal statute, Foust created a federal question giving the city the right to have the case removed to federal court despite the fact the sole count is a state law claim.

Here is a copy of the removal petition, which includes a copy of the complaint: Foust v Corinth and the Lake Cities FD REMOVAL

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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