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.

Muslim Firefighter Challenges FDNY’s No Beard Rule

A Muslim FDNY firefighter who claims the city granted him a religious accommodation from its no beard requirement, and then without cause withdrew it last year, has filed a religious discrimination suit. Steven Daniel filed suit alleging the city’s refusal to continue to allow him to maintain “close-cropped facial hair” constitutes illegal religious discrimination.

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Second Suit Filed Over Washington State Intubation Training

A second federal lawsuit has been filed by family members of a man whose body was used to practice intubation skills in a Bellingham, Washington firehouse. Jai Ginn filed earlier this month naming the City of Bellingham, eleven firefighters, and the Whatcom County Medical Program‘s director.

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Texas Lawsuit Blames Fire Loss of Home on Stopped Train

The owners of a home in Bowie County, Texas have filed suit against the Union Pacific Railroad Company claiming the railroad was negligent by blocking roads with a parked train for an extended period of time without advanced notice, which led to the destruction of their home.

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Altercation at Incident Prompts Illinois Lawsuit

An Illinois firefighter has filed suit claiming she was physically assaulted by a company officer at the scene of a fire last year. Michelle Giese claims she was assaulted by Lieutenant Nathan Boyce on October 18, 2018 while they were working for the Kankakee Fire Department.

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Podcast # 27: Compensation for EMS Training Time

In this episode, Curt discusses an FLSA lawsuit filed by a Memphis firefighter, Jon Misewicz, over the issue of whether firefighters have to be compensated for attending mandatory paramedic training. Misewizc v. City of Memphis is the definitive ruling on the compensability of EMS training time for firefighters.

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More LA Firefighters Join SoCalGas Suit

A lawsuit filed last October by 29 Los Angeles firefighters against Southern California Gas Company is in the headlines again as word that additional firefighters are continuing to sign on to the suit. The suit alleges SoCalGas knowingly exposed the firefighters to hazardous levels of toxins like benzene and formaldehyde during a leak in 2015-2016 in Aliso Canyon, but concealed the dangers.

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Arkansas Firefighters Not Liable For Fire Deaths

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Jacksonville, Arkansas Fire Department and five of its firefighters cannot be held liable for the deaths of a mother and her four children in an apartment fire in 2012. The fire occurred in the early morning hours of March 22, 2012, killing Marilyn Beavers and her children, Dequan, Syndi, Haylee, and Emily.

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Buffalo Firefighter Sues City For Burn Injuries at Fire

A Buffalo firefighter who was injured last January in a house fire, has filed suit against the city claiming that numerous safety and health violations caused his injuries. Eric Whitehead suffered severe burns to both of his hands, which required him to undergo several surgeries and spend six weeks in the local burn unit

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First Suit Filed Over Florida’s Firefighter Cancer Presumption Law

A St. Petersburg fire lieutenant who was diagnosed with cancer last year, and who was denied coverage under Florida’s newly enacted cancer presumption law, has filed suit. Lt. Jason Francis filed suit against the city of St. Petersburg. He filed for benefits under Florida Statutes 112.1816 on July 1, 2019, which incidentally was the day the law went into effect.

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Georgia Chief Sues Colleagues For Age Discrimination Over Alcohol Allegations

A deputy chief from Warner Robins, Georgia has filed suit against the city, the mayor and four chief officers claiming age discrimination following an incident in July, 2018 where he was accused of responding to a fire under the influence. Deputy Chief Robert S. Wood filed suit in US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia last week naming...

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FDNY Reverse Discrimination and Retaliation Suit Will Continue

An FDNY battalion chief who claims he was subjected to reverse discrimination and retaliation after reporting rumors about paramedic having sex with a firefighter in his fire station, has lost 13 of the 20 counts in his lawsuit, but he will be allowed to proceed on the remaining seven against the city and FDNY.

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