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Municipal Liability

North Carolina Chief Sued in Accident Case

The fire chief of Winston-Salem, North Carolina has become embroiled in a strange suit by a woman who claims that the fire chief’s personal vehicle struck her vehicle last March and kept on going. Katrina Newton claims she was driving her vehicle on March 26 when dark-colored Dodge pickup hit her vehicle causing severe damage.

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Phoenix Sued for Wrongful Arrest in Arson Case

An innocent man who spent 14 months in jail on arson charges has filed suit against the city of Phoenix and the arson investigators who accused him of setting the fire. Carl Vincent Ball Caples filed suit in Maricopia County Superior Court last week claiming the city failed to hire properly trained investigators, failed to provide the investigators with proper training, and permitted them to use outdated and discredited investigation techniques leading to his wrongful arrest and incarceration.

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Florida Fire Department Settles Wrongful Termination Suit

Two Florida firefighters have received $80,000 settlements in their wrongful termination suit. Flagler Beach firefighters Shane Wood and Jacob Bissonnette were terminated last year over an incident that occurred in their station on Christmas day, 2012. Both were off duty at the time, but allegedly were in possession of alcohol in the station

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Disabled Missouri Firefighter Must Be Compensated in Full

A Missouri firefighter who was severely injured in 2006 at a fatal fire, has prevailed in a suit to continue earning her full pay while recuperating from her injuries. Cindy Schuenke, 50, was a firefighter paramedic with the Community Fire Protection District. She was severely injured at a fire on March 29, 2006

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Memphis Fire Sued for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

A Memphis firefighter who was terminated in 2013, has filed suit in federal court alleging gender and disability discrimination. Latundra Shinault claims that various officers in the Memphis Fire Department “made sexual comments towards her … belittling her” and “demonstrated a great dislike towards” her.

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Battle Creek Settles FLSA Suit for $1.5 Million

The City of Battle Creek, Michigan has agreed to settle a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case with its firefighters for $1.5 million. The firefighters alleged that the city had been improperly calculating their overtime compensation.

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Cancellation of Paramedic Unit Prompts California Suit for Wrongful Death

The family of a man who died in 2013 has filed suit against a California fire department, a fire chief and others who the family claims are to blame for the man's death. The complaint includes allegations that a Yermo Fire Department captain cancelled a responding ALS ambulance long before he arrived on scene because he believed the patient was a “constant complainer” ...

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Oregon Supreme Court Rules in Important Fire Fighter Disability Case

On October 30th, the Oregon Supreme Court issued its decision in John Miller, et. al., v. City of Portland, 356 Or. 402 (2014). The case has important implications for municipalities and fire fighters regarding disability benefits. The question in Miller centered on whether a municipality can change a fire fighter’s “required duties” to require the fire fighter to return to duty despite previously being deemed disabled.

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NY Fire Department Sued for Wrongful Death in Football Case

A fire department in upstate New York has been sued following the death of a high school football player from injuries he sustained in a game. Damon James, 16, died on September 16, 2013 and according to the suit, the fire department refused to bring an ambulance onto the field “putting concerns about property damage ahead of the lives and safety of student athletes.”

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Supreme Court to Hear Pregnancy Discrimination Case

On December 3, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case that will hopefully settle uncertainty about whether employers must provide the same (or even more favorable) benefits to pregnant employees as they do for non-pregnant employees who have similar work limitations related to non-line-of-duty injuries or illnesses. While there have been multiple cases of fire departments facing repercussions for failing to treat pregnancy the same as non-line-of-duty injuries, there has been some disagreement among the lower courts about what the law actually requires.

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Tampa Ordered to Pay $1 Million in 13th Check Pension Case

The City of Tampa has been ordered to pay $1 million in costs in a class action lawsuit filed by a retired Tampa firefighter. John Parker filed the suit claiming that in 2004 the city’s police and fire pension board failed to provide retirees with benefits under special provision known as a “13th Check Program.”

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