Palm Beach Firefighter Ordered to Pay Town’s Defense Costs

A Palm Beach firefighter who lost his discrimination suit against the town has had to reimburse the town for a portion of its defense costs.

Last January, Palm Beach prevailed in federal court in a suit brought by former firefighter-paramedic Roger Dale Corbin, a 17 year veteran. Corbin claimed the fire department violated the American’s With Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to properly accommodate his diabetic condition.

Unfortunately for Corbin, the evidence showed he was actually terminated for calling in sick on August 5, 2011, and fabricating a story about being home when he was in fact in Georgia staying with relatives and visiting Six Flags.  As Corbin discovered, federal courts are rather… how shall we say… intolerant of those kinds of… honest mistake of fact. Quoting from Judge Kenneth Marra’s January 23, 2014 ruling, “Even under [Corbin’s own] version of the facts, his behavior can only be seen as insubordinate and deceitful.”

Last month, Corbin was ordered to pay a portion of the town’s defense costs. Fortunately for Corbin, the town agreed to settle for just $1500 in exchange for Corbin surrendering his right to appeal Judge Marra’s ruling or otherwise challenge his termination.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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