Fire Law Vlog Case Updates

In this edition of Fire Law Vlog, we cover three recent Fire Law cases that passed under the radar: a patent violation suit against a volunteer fire department in Virginia; the arrest and release of a medic in Los Angeles County; and a suit by a Florida firefighter contesting his termination for cooking coconut and cannabis in the fire station.

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Washington Appeals Court Rules Staffing Is Bargainable Subject

The Washington Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling by the Public Employment Relations Commission that staffing is a mandatory subject for bargaining when it has “a demonstratedly direct relationship” to firefighter workload and safety. The case involved an interest arbitration between IAFF Local 46 and the City of Everett.

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Louisiana Fire Dispatchers Claim Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Three dispatchers for the Jefferson Parish East Bank Consolidated Fire Protection Bureau have filed suit alleging gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. Monica Mitchell, Melissa Burkett, and Tammy Cavanaugh claim their supervisor, Robert Funk, discriminated against them and subjected them to a hostile work environment.

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Texas Court Rejects District Chief’s Appeal

A former district chief with the Beaumont Fire Department who was fired while on disability, has lost the appeal of the dismissal of his lawsuit. Chief Billy Fratus filed suit in 2017 accusing the department of discriminating against him on account of his Hispanic ancestry and for speaking out against harassment in the workplace.

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Ohio City Sued Over Handling of Outdoor Cooking Incident

The City of Lyndhurst, Ohio is being sued over a 2018 incident in which police and firefighters ordered a couple to stop cooking outside because the smoke was bothering their neighbors. Emad Alabasi and Yana Alabasi filed suit last week in federal court claiming the city is discriminating against them because of their national origin.

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Local Fire Marshal Shuts Down Road Construction

Today’s burning question: I am the local fire district’s fire marshal and a contractor just erected signage indicating they plan to shut down a key road for construction that will result in a 10-mile detour for our fire apparatus. If this constitutes an unreasonable hazard in the event of a fire, can I issue an emergency stop work order? Answer: That is exactly what a fire marshal in Oregon did earlier this month.

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Polk County and SnapChatting Captain Sued Over 2017 Fire

The family of a man killed in a house fire in 2017, has filed suit against Polk County Fire Rescue and a former captain who was at the center of a subsequent YCMTSU incident. The fire on October 11, 2017 claimed the life of Edward McLaughlin, 78. Six other occupants escaped the early morning blaze.

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Georgia Firefighter Settles PTSD Suit for $250k

Forsyth County, Georgia has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former firefighter who was prevented from returning to duty after taking stress-related medical leave because he was deemed to be a “safety-risk.” The settlement awards Timothy Smallwood $250,000 and resolves a federal lawsuit alleging a violation of ADA.

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Ohio Jury Returns Split Verdict in Toledo Sex Discrimination Case

An Ohio jury ruled today that one of two female Toledo firefighters involved in a lawsuit that stretches back over a decade, was discriminated against. The suit dates back to 2005, when Carla Stachura, Judi Imhoff and Geraldine McCalland, filed suit claiming they were subjected to gender discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation.

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