Dallas Staring Down The Barrel of a $4 Billion Suit

The City of Dallas is staring down the barrel of a $4 billion lawsuit filed 22 years ago by firefighters and police officers who claim they were shortchanged on pay raises. The lawsuit, filed in 1994, is the longest-running lawsuit currently in the Texas court system. It accuses the city of reneging on pay-raise requirements passed in a 1979 referendum.

According to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings: “In 1979, citizens wanted to give firemen and police officers a raise. They did not plan on it costing 4 billion dollars.” According to WFAA there are now over 10,000 plaintiffs to the suit, which is headed to trial next spring.

The suit comes down to the interpretation of three words: “shall be maintained”.

Here is a link to extensive news coverage of the suit from WFAA, lasting over 6 minutes. We were unable to embed it here.

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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