Portland, Oregon Settles Assault Case Against Fire Chief for $5k

A lawsuit filed by a civilian fire department employee that accused Portland Fire Chief Erin Janssens of assault has been settled for $5,000.

Brian Alcid, who served as a facilities maintenance supervisor, filed suit last October claiming that in December, 2013, Chief Janssens grabbed him by the neck and shook him during a heated discussion. Alcid sued Chief Janssens for $47,500.

The city investigated the incident and opted not to discipline Chief Janssens, although acknowledging that she did display “discourteous behavior”. The city also agreed to defend Chief Janssens and pay the $5,000 settlement because the suit arose out of work related activities. As part of the settlement, Chief Janssens agreed to write a letter of apology to Alcid for placing her hands on him.

Chief Janssens announced in January that she would be retiring this month. 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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