Civil Suit

Settlement Announced in Oregon Wrongful Termination Suit

An Oregon fire chief who filed a wrongful termination suit has agreed to accept a $55,000 settlement. Chief Mike Balzer claims he was terminated by Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District because his wife posted comments on social media that were critical of the district’s board.

Read More »

Rope Rescue, NFPA Compliance and Liability

Today’s burning question: Are there any cases where a fire department has been held liable because personnel used rope rescue hardware that was appropriate for the task, but did not meet NFPA 1983? Answer: Great question - I have not seen a single case where a fire department was sued (let alone held liable) because they used non-NFPA compliant tech rescue hardware. However, safety concerns should not be driven solely by liability concerns.

Read More »

Kansas Firefighter Sues for Sexual Harassment

A Kansas firefighter who claims she endured years of sexual harassment at the hands of her colleagues and retaliation by supervisors after she complained, has filed suit in federal court. Elizabeth Hinton filed suit last week against the City of Olathe, accusing colleagues of "mooing" outside her door while she pumped breastmilk.

Read More »

California Firefighters File Overtime Suit Over Health Care Buy-Back

Today’s burning question: Does a fire department have to include payments made in lieu of accepting health benefits in a firefighter’s regular rate for purposes of calculating overtime? Answer: Yes, and that is one of the central issues in an FLSA suit that firefighters with the Marinwood Community Services District filed claiming the district has been improperly calculating their overtime.

Read More »

2016 FLSA Roundup

Throughout 2016, the Fair Labor Standards Act continued to loom as one of the most important laws for fire departments. Here are the top 2016 FLSA for Fire Departments headlines, in rank order of importance:

Read More »

Court Strikes Down Police Department Social Media Policy In Ho-Hum Non-Precedent Setting But Widely Discussed Decision

Today’s burning question: I just saw that the 4th Circuit struck down a police department’s social media policy based on the First Amendment. I live in Nevada, which is part of the 9th Circuit. Will that ruling be binding here? Answer: Boy, there sure is a lot of interest in that 4th Circuit case. I have received over 25 emails and social media contacts TODAY ALONE.

Read More »

First Suits Filed in Oakland Ghost Ship Fire

The first lawsuits have been filed in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire, accusing the building owners of negligence and wrongful death. The December 2, 2016 fire killed 36 attendees of an electronic dance music event at a warehouse named Ghost Ship. Two suits were filed Friday in Alameda County Superior Court.

Read More »

LA Sues Recycling Center for Fire Costs

The City of Los Angeles has filed suit against Clean Up America over the costs of battling a trash fire that took six weeks to fully extinguish. The company operates a recycling center that had a trash pile 25 feet high, 252 feet long and 250 feet wide, with an estimated 22 million pounds of trash.

Read More »