Court Upholds $3 million Cut From New Jersey Firefighter’s Verdict

A New Jersey firefighter who was awarded $3.5 million by a jury last year for a whistleblower violation will have to settle for $500,000, according to a three judge panel from the Superior Court Appellate Division.

Ridgewood firefighter Kevin Reilly claims he was passed over for promotion to lieutenant because he reported that his superiors violated safety requirements. In 2012 a superior court jury agreed he was retaliated against, and awarded him $3.5 million in damages.

That verdict was subsequently reduced to $500,000 by Judge Menelaos Toskos who characterized the award as “shockingly high.”

Reilly appealed the reduction and yesterday the Appellate Division affirmed Judge Toskos’s decision calling it “comprehensive and thoughtful.”

More on the story.

About 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.

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