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.

Oregon Firefighter Sues for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

An Oregon firefighter who was retaliated against and later terminated after he complained about being sexually harassed, has filed suit naming his former employer, two chiefs, and three of his colleagues. Phillip Walter Rilatos, III filed suit last week naming the North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District #1

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LA County Fire Sued for $10.4 Million Over Restraint of Seizure Patient

A man who claims he was handcuffed and restrained while having an epileptic seizure has filed a $10.4 million suit against the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department. Jason Cook is seeking is damages from the State of California, five CHP officers, LA County, four firefighters, a captain and the fire chief for physical, psychological, and emotional injuries he claims are severe.

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FLSA Suit in Michigan Settled for $150k

A class action Fair Labor Standards Act suit brought last year by EMTs in Livingston County, Michigan has been settled for $150,000. The suit was brought by five EMTs who alleged that the county miscalculated their regular rate, which in turn led to a miscalculation of their overtime compensation.

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CalFire Sues to Recover Costs Of Fighting Wildland Fire

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) filed suit last week against a man it claims started the Bridge Fire in Cambria in 2017. The suit was filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court against Andrew William Dreyfus and seeks $65,532 in damages.

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Virginia EMT Files $30 Million Suit Over Sexual Assault

A volunteer EMT has filed suit claiming she was sexually assaulted by a career lieutenant while participating in ride-along training with the Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue when she was a minor. Identified as Jane Doe in the complaint, the EMT alleges she was sexually assaulted by Lieutenant Larry Scott Hawkins during a ride-along training session in February, 2018.

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Suit By Property Owners Over Michigan LODD Fire Will Proceed

A Michigan fire department is facing a second lawsuit over the line-of-duty death of a firefighter in 2013. The suit was brought by property owners who claim they were unfairly targeted as arson suspects in an effort to divert attention from the mistakes that led to the death of Wayne-Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke.

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Judge Refuses to Sanction Chicago Fire Over Radio Recording

The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has denied a request by a city paramedic to sanction the city for failing to preserve a radio communication she claimed was relevant to her sexual harassment suit. Jane Doe 1 is one of 5 female paramedics who filed suit against the Chicago Fire Department in 2018.

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NC Facebook Post Results in Two Cybercasualties

A social media post advocating the extermination of immigrants being held in detention camps has impacted two North Carolina firefighters, a father and a son, and two different fire departments. Caleb Folwell was a career firefighter at the North Chatham Fire Department.

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