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.

Illinois City Sues IAFF Local To Contract Out EMS

An Illinois city seeking to contract-out emergency medical services from its fire department, is suing to enforce an arbitration ruling allowing its plan to move forward. The City of Mattoon filed suit last week in Coles County Circuit Court against Mattoon Firefighters IAFF Local 691.

Read More »

NJ City Settles Reverse Discrimination Suit for $450k

A New Jersey city has settled a contentious dispute with a deputy chief that resulted in three separate lawsuits and an investigation by the local prosecutor’s office. The City of Plainfield has agreed to pay Deputy Chief Jeffrey Courtney $450,000 in exchange for his agreement to dismiss two suits he has pending, dismiss a pending workers comp claim, and retire.

Read More »

Boston Firefighter Fired Over Online Posts

The Boston firefighter who posted a cartoon image of a muscular Black man carrying the severed head of a white man, has been terminated. Octavius Rowe, a 15 year veteran, was fired on April 30, 2018 following an investigation that began last October

Read More »

Spokane Fire Confronts Hazing of Probies

The Spokane Fire Department is reviewing an investigative report into allegations of hazing and bullying of probationary employees at one of their fire stations. The investigation was conducted by the city’s Human Resource department who interviewed 30 members.

Read More »

Fired FDNY Probie Sues Over Harassment By Colleagues

An FDNY probie who washed out during his first year, has filed suit alleging he was subjected to an assortment of outrageous conduct by his coworkers. Michael Tronia filed suit last Friday alleging discrimination under federal, state and local law; assault and battery; retaliation; and Constitutional violations.

Read More »

Former Wisconsin Fire Chief Prevails in Defamation Suit

A fire chief who was fired in 2016 following allegations that he told a female subordinate that she should resign when their affair ended, has prevailed in a defamation suit against her. Former Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba was initially demoted and then fired after Mary Jo Hoppe accused him of sexual harassment

Read More »

Kansas City Firefighter Not Guilty in Spitting Incident

A Kansas City, Missouri firefighter who was accused of spitting on an African American child in a Hooters restaurant in a highly publicized case, has been found not guilty on all charges. Terrence Skeen was originally charged with assault, battery and disorderly conduct following the incident in Overland Park, Kansas.

Read More »

Are Kelly Days Supposed to be Paid or Unpaid Days Off

Today’s burning question: Does the FLSA require Kelly days to be paid or unpaid? Answer: The short answer is the FLSA does not require Kelly days to be paid or unpaid. That decision is left entirely up to the employer and employee to decide. As you might imagine different departments choose to handle it differently.

Read More »

Texas Lieutenant Sues For Whistleblower Violation

A Texas lieutenant who was fired for being AWOL on December 23, 2017, is suing his department claiming that his discipline is retaliation for his whistleblowing. Jeramie Casiano was a lieutenant Harris County Emergency Services District 48 Fire Department

Read More »

San Diego Captain Sues For Sexual Harassment

A captain with the San Diego Fire Department has filed a sexual harassment and discrimination suit that names the city, the San Diego Fire Department, two deputy chiefs and a fellow captain. Sara Alfaro filed the 11-count, 45-page suit on April 20, 2018 in San Diego County Superior Court.

Read More »