Connecticut City and Captain Eye Settlement of 7 Year Old Suit

A Connecticut fire captain appears to be a step closer to settling a 7 year old suit against two chief officers and the Meridan Fire Department.

Captain Roger Kindschi filed suit in 2006 against Assistant Chief Louis DiGennaro, Assistant Chief Joseph Kamiski, and the city alleging an assortment of offenses, including:

  • defamation
  • violation of Connecticut’s wiretapping law for secretly recording telephone conversations between Chief DeGennaro and Captain Kindschi
  • invasion of privacy for portraying Captain Kindschi in a false light
  • malicious destruction of property
  • negligent supervision
  • intentional infliction of severe emotional distress
  • negligence on the part of the department to protect Captain Kindschi from threats of workplace violence
  • breach of promise for failing to properly investigate Captain Kindschi's allegations
  • breach of implied contract

Here are copies of a 2006 and a 2007 Superior Court ruling that detail many of Captain Kindschi’s accusation.  2006 Kindschi v Meridan       2007 Kindschi v Meridan

Some of the more concerning statements from the 2007 ruling are:

  • plaintiff further claims that DiGennaro "has had a long record of exhibiting threatening and hostile behavior while in the City's Fire Department." (Plaintiff's complaint, paragraph 44a-o.) This hostile behavior has included physical assaults against fellow fire fighters, assaults on his own son, as well as screaming profanities and threats during public meetings and/or in public places.
  • DiGennaro threatened to "do everything in my power to bring you down." (Plaintiff's complaint, paragraph 51). The allegations in the complaint describe DiGennaro's pattern of behavior towards the plaintiff as that of an out of control bully who is accustomed to intimidating everyone around him, including his supervisors.
  • On December 4, 2005, six days following the meeting, the plaintiff was told by his supervising officer, Assistant Chief Burdick that the defendant, Assistant Chief Joseph Kaminski, was "spreading false rumors about plaintiff around the department." (Plaintiff's complaint, paragraph 139.) According to Burdick, Kaminski was telling people in the department that the plaintiff was having an affair with a co-worker.
  • plaintiff asserts that during the course of his employment, the defendants wrongfully and intentionally published false statements about him. These statements, charging the plaintiff with a proclivity for non-truthfulness, non-trustworthiness and marital infidelity, were published to his fellow workers as well as to the community at large.
  • plaintiff alleges that the defendants invaded his privacy by false light. In support of this claim, the plaintiff describes various instances in which the defendants "accused him of being a liar in front of an entire shift of firemen," warned" an entire shift of firemen that they should watch their backs because they would be next" and "spread false rumors throughout the entire Fire Department that the Plaintiff was having an affair." (Plaintiff's complaint, third count, paragraph 292a-c.)

A settlement that would resolve the case is now before the Meridan City Council. Among the terms publically released, the city admits no liability, but agrees to pay captain Kindschi $300,000. The captain would retire and be paid an additional $32,641.91 for 72 sick days.

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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