NJ Township Settles Sexual Harassment Suit for $30k

A New Jersey township has agreed to pay $30,000 to a female employee to settle her claims that the fire chief “smacked” her on her “rear end”.

Lorie Cutts, who served as an administrative assistant for the Medford Township Fire Department, claimed that Fire Chief Thomas Thorn smacked her on her bottom in front of two other firefighters. The four were going to lunch in December, 2012 when the incident occurred.

Cutts filed suit last year in Burlington County Superior Court alleging sexual harassment. She was seeking compensatory and punitive damages, along with costs and attorneys fees.

The township claims the $30,000 settlement reached last month was agreed to in order to “avoid the costs of litigation”. It does not require the township to admit liability.

Cutts’ attorney, Kevin Costello, was quoted by the Courier-Post as saying “It’s hard for me to say much more than what the records demonstrate… We’re always pleased when a case resolves amicably. Obviously, a settlement by definition is an amicable resolution.”

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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