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.

Pennsylvania Teen Charged With Stealing Fire Truck

A former junior firefighter with the Strinestown Community Fire Department has been charged with stealing one of the department’s fire trucks and taking it for a joyride last Sunday. The youth was observed on surveillance video using a stolen Ford Explorer to push in an overhead door to access the fire station.

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Texas Lieutenant Loses Progressive Discipline Appeal

A Texas lieutenant who was suspended indefinitely for being rude on an emergency run, and who convinced an independent hearing examiner that the penalty violated principles of progressive discipline, has lost his appeal to keep his job. Lt. Fabian Scott Butler of the Big Spring Fire Department was suspended following a run to the Federal Correction Institute at Big Spring.

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Burning Question on Different Rates Of Pay

Today’s burning question: Can a municipality change your pay rate depending on the job/situation? Answer: There is nothing in the Fair Labor Standards Act that prohibits an employer from playing employees different rates of pay when working in different jobs, or even working the same job at different times.

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LA Firefighter Sues for Race Discrimination

A veteran Los Angeles City firefighter has filed suit against the city and up to 100 unnamed firefighters claiming he was harassed and discriminated against because he is African American, and then retaliated against once he complained. Firefighter-Paramedic Emanuel Brown filed the suit Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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Nevada Firefighter Union Sued By Mayoral Candidate

A Nevada man who ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of the town of Fernley has filed suit against a firefighters’ union that he claims defamed him during the campaign. Ryan Hanan filed suit last month accusing IAFF Local 4547, North Lyon County Firefighters Association, of defaming him on Facebook by posting false statements about his service as a firefighter.

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Florida Appeals Court Rules Against Former Palm Beach Battalion Chief

A Florida appellate court has ruled against a former battalion chief who sued the Town of Palm Beach following his demotion and termination. Former Battalion Chief Jason Weeks sued the town for fraud, conspiracy to defame, negligent supervision, negligent interference with a prospective advantageous business relationship, and denial of due process.

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RI Union President Sues Town

Another lawsuit has been filed in the ongoing battle between the firefighters and the town administration in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. IAFF Local 3328 union president William Perry filed suit against the town, Town Council President Sue Cieniki, Town Manager Gail Corrigan, and Finance Director Linda Dykeman alleging violations of the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act and the Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act.

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Greek Wildland Fire Prompts Lawsuit

A wildland fire that claimed the lives of at least 91 people in the Greek village of Mati on July 23, has already sparked a lawsuit by the relatives of two of the victims. The victims, 70-year-old Vassilis Katsargyris and 73-year-old Maria Pagomenou were trying to evacuate their home in the neighborhood of Neos Voutzas when they were trapped by the fire.

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Indiana AG Sues Former Fire Department Treasurer for Over $575k

The attorney general for Indiana has filed suit against the former treasurer of a volunteer fire department to recover not only the $185k in department funds he is accused of misappropriating plus $50k in additional costs the department incurred, but a statutory damage award of three times the fire department’s actual damages for a total of $575k.

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Illinois Appeals Court Agrees With Union That Residency Award Invalid

An Illinois appeals court has upheld a decision that a firefighter’s union cannot be compelled to bargain over a residency requirement. The case involved the Oak Lawn Professional Firefighters Association IAFF Local 3405 and the Village of Oak Lawn, who were negotiating a collective bargaining agreement for 2015-2017.

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Hawaii Firefighter Loses Stress Related Discrimination Suit

A lieutenant who was initially demoted and then fired due to his inability to function under stress, has lost his lawsuit claiming disability discrimination. Randy L. Baab, a firefighter at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, claims he developed a stress related disability in 2014 after an assistant chief “yelled at” him during a training exercise.

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South Carolina Firefighter Sues Over Dyslexia-Related Discrimination

A South Carolina volunteer firefighter who claims he was passed over as a full-timer because of his dyslexia has filed suit alleging disability discrimination. Christopher Gallagher filed suit last month accusing the Surfside Beach Fire Department of violating the American With Disability Act Amendment Act (ADAAA).

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Delaware LODD Prompts Suit Over Non-Locking Carabiner

The estate of a Delaware firefighter killed in a helicopter training exercise in 2016 has filed suit against the companies that sold the harness system he was wearing when he fell to his death. Timothy McClanahan died when he fell about 100 feet from a Delaware State Police helicopter during a hoist training exercise.

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