Author Archives: 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.

NJ Firefighter Injured By Apparatus Following Celebration Files Suit

A New Jersey firefighter who was injured last year in a mishap with an engine following an out of town celebration, is suing the department and several firefighters. Brian Smith was part of a three-person crew from the South Hackensack Fire Department that took an engine to attend a “wet down” party at the Fair Lawn Fire Department on June 23, 2018.

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Pennsylvania VFD Treasurer Charged With Embezzlement

The treasurer of a Pennsylvania fire department is facing charges that he embezzled $93,000 from the department. According to The Bradford Era, Scott Andrew Luce is facing a total of 128 charges for stealing money from the Genesee Fire and Ambulance Department.

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At Will, Due Process and Just Cause

Today’s burning question: Does Loudermill apply in states that are “at-will”? Our city administrator said a prominent HR attorney told her that due process, progressive discipline, and a Loudermill hearing process does not have to be followed in our state because we are “at-will”. Answer: There is alot of confusion over this issue and well-intentioned attorneys who oversimplify the complexity of the law are not necessarily helpful.

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Fire Victims’ Family Seeks $2.2 Billion from New York City

An attorney representing the daughter of a woman who died in a fire along with her five children, has filed a claim with the city of New York for $2.2 billion alleging the city did not do enough to protect them as residents in a public housing project. Attorney Evan Oshan filed the claim on behalf of Raven Reyes, the daughter of Andrea Pollidore.

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Chicago Fire Prevails in Discrimination Suit

The Chicago Fire Department has prevailed in a lawsuit filed by a Hispanic firefighter who claimed he was the victim of a hostile workplace. Last Friday, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a summary judgment to the city in a suit brought by Firefighter Ricardo Gomez

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Zipper Clauses, Past Practices, and Discipline Prior to Exhaustion of Appeals

The Court of Appeals of Ohio, First Appellate District has upheld a grievance arbitration decision that found that a fire department breached a collective bargaining agreement when it imposed discipline before an employee’s administrative appeals have been exhausted. The case involved William Tillett, who was a lieutenant with the Anderson Township Fire Department.

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Two North Carolina Firefighters Fired Over Facebook Post

Two Brevard firefighters have been fired over a social media post that criticized the city manager for wearing a military uniform to a memorial day parade that was a mix of two different branches. Former firefighter Richard Carl Travis shared a photo of Brevard City Manager Jim Fatland on Facebook along with the comment...

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Niagara County Back In, Fire Company Remains Out Of Cadaver Suit

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of NY has reinstated Niagara County in a lawsuit brought by the family of an accident victim whose body tissue was given by a coroner to a local fire chief for use in training cadaver dogs. At the same time, the court upheld the dismissal of a volunteer fire company from the same suit.

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LA County Groin Kick Suit Results in No Liability

The Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeals has upheld a trial court ruling that a Los Angeles County fire captain who kicked one of his firefighters in the groin while demonstrating a self-defense move is not liable for the harm the resulted. The facts of the case are quite involved and go back to 2011.

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2020 Edition of NFPA 1710 Released

The 2020 Edition of NFPA 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, has been released by the NFPA Standards Council. The 2020 Edition contains several noteworthy changes. To address concerns about when NFPA 1710 applies compared to NFPA 1720, a definition of a career fire department was added

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Illinois Widow Sues Fire Department For Lost Sick Time

The widow of an Illinois firefighter who died of cancer in 2017, is suing the fire department he worked for to recoup the value of the sick leave he was forced to take while incapacitated due to his medical condition. Joliet Fire Department Lieutenant Scott Carroll died on July 29, 2017 of myxoid liposarcoma. He became unable to work and thereafter was forced to use his accrued sick leave.

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