Ohio Jury Returns Split Verdict in Toledo Sex Discrimination Case

An Ohio jury ruled today that one of two female Toledo firefighters involved in a lawsuit that stretches back over a decade, was discriminated against. The suit dates back to 2005, when Captain Carla Stachura, FF Judi Imhoff and FF Geraldine McCalland, filed suit claiming they were subjected to gender discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation.

After the case was filed, the three were terminated for tape recording workplace conversations. Each was later ordered reinstated by arbitrators. The lawsuit kicked around the Ohio court system for nine years, with at least two trips up to the court of appeals.

The trial was originally scheduled for September, 2014 but neither side was prepared. Lucas County Court of Common Pleas Judge Linda Jennings denied a joint request for a continuance, forcing the case to be dismissed. By agreement of the parties, the case was then refiled in 2015. McCalland withdrew from the case leaving Captain Stachura and Imhoff to proceed.

The trial began earlier this month in Lucas County Court of Common Pleas with Captain Stachura and Imhoff seeking $1.35 million in damages. Judge Jennings gave the case to the jury yesterday. The five-women and three-men deliberated for nearly seven hours before concluding 6 to 2 that Imhoff had been discriminated against, but denying Captain Stachura’s claims. The jury found that neither Captain Stachura nor Imhoff had been retaliated against.

Imoff was awarded $150,000 in damages. She remains with the fire department. Captain Stachura retired in 2008.

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.

Check Also

Court: Union Can Settle Firefighter Discipline Case

The US District Court in Eastern Washington has concluded that a firefighter’s due process rights are not violated by a union settling a disciplinary matter against him, even if the agreement waives his right to appeal. The case involved a disciplinary investigation in the Spokane Fire Department into allegations of harassment and bullying.

Mass Firefighter’s Termination Upheld

A Cambridge firefighter who was suspended during his first year and then fired after the one-year anniversary of his appointment to the department, has lost his appeal to Suffolk County Superior Court that claimed he was a tenured employee. Joseph Andrade was hired by the Cambridge Fire Department on March 13, 2016