FDNY Sued for $3 Million By Disabled Firefighter

An FDNY firefighter who was hurt off-duty, reinjured a year later on the job, then arrested, denied a disability pension, and terminated, is suing the city and FDNY for $3 million for violating his civil rights.

Daniel Braun filed suit last month in US District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that his 4th and 14th Amendment rights were violated. Besides the city and the department, the complaint also names Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Investigations and Trials, Robert A. Wallace.

The complaint alleges that Braun injured his shoulder in 2008, then reinjured it on duty in 2009. While off-injured he was arrested, resulting in him being suspended by FDNY. He was subsequently reinstated and continued rehabbing his injuries until it was determined that his injuries were permanently disabling, at which point he applied for a disability pension.

Braun accuses FDNY of wrongfully blocking his application for a disability pension, as well as wrongfully terminating him without due process. He also claims Assistant Commissioner Wallace and others wrongfully accessed sealed criminal documents in violation of his 4th Amendment Rights.

From the complaint:

  • On or about September 1, 2008, Mr. Braun was involved in a motorcycle accident, in which he suffered injuries to the rotator cuff of his right shoulder.
  • On July 20, 2009, Mr. Braun sustained work-related injuries, when another firefighter fell on top of him, causing Mr. Braun injuries to both shoulders, including a new injury to the same right rotator cuff which was now re-torn, and a totally new injury to the right labrum, and he incurred additional new injuries to his back and knees.
  • Subsequently, on August 12, 2009, Mr. Braun was arrested and suspended until September 14, 2009.
  • In February 2010, Mr. Braun underwent surgery on the labrum of his right shoulder, properly paid for by the FDNY as a Line of Duty Injury (LODI).
  • In July 2010, Mr. Braun had further surgery on his right shoulder labrum, again paid for by the FDNY as a LODI.
  • On or about March 4, 2011, Mr. Braun went for evaluation before the 3 PHYSICIAN FDNY Medical Board Committee.
  • The plaintiff was confirmed to be permanently disabled, premised on the July 20, 2009 Line of Duty Injury when all the Doctors on the Board signed off on his disability.
  • On December 10, 2013, Mr. Braun’s showed up to work, (he was restricted and on limited duty) worked for a few hours and then his employment with the FDNY was terminated.
  • When plaintiff was arrested, the Defendants illegally blocked plaintiff from continuing the process to obtain the permanent disability he is entitled to due to his job related debilitating injuries, even though his job relating disabling injuries occurred prior to his arrest.
  • Additionally, the defendants, including but not limited to, ASSISTANT CHIEF OF BITS WALLACE, have illegally obtained sealed criminal documents from the plaintiff’s federal criminal case, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and the plaintiff’s due process rights, which they showed him in failed efforts to force him to resign.
  • Additionally, the defendants commenced plaintiff’s OATH proceeding, but terminated the hearing without it being concluded or reaching a verdict and terminated him illegally without said Hearing.

OATH refers to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Here is a copy of the complaint: Braun v City of New York

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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