NJ City Settles Suit Over Retaliation

The City of Paterson, New Jersey has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a fire captain who claims he was retaliated by a former fire chief. Captain Salvatore Brigati filed suit in 2017 claiming Fire Chief Michael Postorino retaliated against him because he refused to sell the chief property at a discounted price or work for the chief’s side business.

Captain Brigati claims that the chief targeted him for harassment and mistreatment, including assigning him to relatively slow company, Engine 2, at the Union Avenue station. The Union Avenue station was so undesirable that it was nicknamed the “punishment house.” The incidents triggering the harassment occurred in 2004 and 2008.

Chief Postorino retired in 2017, right around the time the lawsuit was filed. The city sought to have the case dismissed alleging that because Captain Brigati suffered no economic losses, there was no basis for liability. This week, the city council voted to settle the suit for $80,000. The settlement amount includes Captain Brigati’s attorneys fees.

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.
x

Check Also

Topeka Prevails in Gender Discrimination Suit

The US District Court for the District of Kansas has granted summary judgment to the City of Topeka in a suit brought by a female firefighter alleging she was subjected to a hostile work environment and retaliation. Amy Bermudez, a 25-year veteran of the department, filed suit in 2018 alleging the harassment stretched back to 2014.

Florida Fire Department Accused of Military Discrimination

A former firefighter in Florida has filed suit claiming he was terminated because of his military service. Chris Merrell filed suit last week against the City of Clermont Fire Department under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act and Florida's version known as Florida Uniformed Servicemembers Protection Act.