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Constitutional Rights

Indiana Firefighter Sues Over Noose Incident

An Indiana firefighter who was tossed a noose during a training exercise has filed a lawsuit in federal court naming chief who tossed the noose. Marion firefighter Mikel Neal and his wife, Rachelle Fears-Neal, have filed suit against former Deputy Chief Rick Backs. The four-page complaint alleges a single count of a due process violation.

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Indiana Retaliation Claim Settled

An Evansville, Indiana district chief who filed suit in federal court last year alleging whistleblower and First Amendment violations has agreed to settle his claims for $13,750. District Chief Keith Jarboe sued claiming he had been retaliated against after bringing to light certain payroll/overtime related improprieties. Chief Jarboe claims his retaliation consisted of a demotion from district chief to safety officer.

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Bizarre Lawsuit Against Maine Fire Department Dismissed

A bizarre lawsuit filed last December by the owners of a landmark Maine restaurant claiming the local fire department allowed their building to be destroyed by fire has been dismissed. US District Court Judge D. Brock Hornsby dismissed the claims of Robert and Judy Cousins, owners of Cap’n Nemo’s Restaurant that was destroyed by fire in December 2013.

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Texas Firefighter Loses Suit Over Discrimination and Due Process

A McAllen, Texas firefighter who was fired twice and reinstated both times has lost a discrimination and due process lawsuit against his department and fire chief. Last February, Robert Vargus sued McAllen and Chief Rafael Balderas alleging discrimination and harassment on account of age and disability and §1983 due process violations.

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South Carolina Fire Departments Sued Over Post-Accident Altercation

A woman and her minor son are suing two South Carolina fire departments over a post-accident altercation that led to the mother and son being arrested. Julia Hyman and her son, identified in court pleadings as J.H., filed suit earlier this month against the Berkley County Sheriff’s Department, Whitesville Rural Fire Department, Whitesville Rural Fire Department Station 1, and numerous sheriff’s deputies and emergency responders.

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Mass Firefighter Sues Claiming Termination Violates First Amendment

A Massachusetts firefighter who was terminated last year for working while off-injured, has filed suit in federal court claiming that his discipline was actually retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights. Andrew Davison was a firefighter in Sandwich, Massachusetts and co-owner of Cape Cod BioFuels, Inc.

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Chattanooga Fire Sued for Civil Rights Violation Following Wrongful Arrest

A Tennessee man who was arrested last January in New Orleans, Louisiana as he was boarding a cruise ship for a vacation, is suing the Chattanooga Fire Department, Fire Chief Kelvin Lamar Flint, Lieutenant Henry McElvain and the City of Chattanooga among others claiming they were responsible for instituting the charges that led to his wrongful arrest.

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Lawsuit Sweepstakes at LAFD – The Lawyer’s Edition

The LA Times is criticizing the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles City Fire Department over what it characterizes as a new round of discrimination suits filed by attorneys who were supposed to be responsible for correcting the problems that led to a previous round of firefighter discrimination suits that date back to 2004.

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Utah Chief Sues Police Over Flawed Drug Investigation

A Salt Lake County assistant chief has filed suit in federal court against the City of Cottonwood Heights claiming that a police detective violated his rights when he accessed confidential medical information about him from the State of Utah’s Controlled Substance Database, and used the information to file unwarranted criminal charges.

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NH Fire Chief Reinstated Despite Ruling

In a move that took many by surprise, the New Hampshire fire chief who lost his bid in court to retain his position, has been reinstated as fire chief. On Monday, Board of Selectmen of the Town of New Durham voted 2-1 to reappoint Peter Varney as fire chief. Chief Varney was removed back in 2014 without notice or a hearing.

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Idaho Fire District Sued Over Elimination of Union President’s Position

An Idaho division chief who was fired after he helped organize a union and served as it’s president, has filed suit against a fire district and its commissioners. Division Chief Timothy McDermott was fired from the Worley Fire District on November 11, 2014. His lawsuit claims that he was told his actions "irritated” the Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners prompting his termination.

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Ohio Fire Department and Firefighters Dismissed Out of Wrongful Death Suit

A federal court judge in Ohio has dismissed a fire department and four of its firefighters from a wrongful death suit filed by the family of a woman who died in a fire in 2011. Sydney Burke died in a house fire on April 9, 2011, and her family blames the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department for her death claiming that responding personnel “failed to immediately enter the structure and attempt rescue efforts for the known victim trapped inside the residence.”

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