Jury Awards $4 Million to California Whistleblowing Fire Marshal

A deputy fire marshal who was fired in 2015 for what he alleges was whistleblowing has been awarded $4 million in damages. Jason Briley sued the City of West Covina claiming he was fired from the city’s fire department because he pointed out numerous fire code violations in city buildings,

The city claimed that Briley was fired for improper conduct and because he was difficult to work with. Last week the jury found in favor of Briley awarding him just over $4 million in damages. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune quoted Briley as saying:

  • “My first reaction was that I was vindicated”
  • “I didn’t do anything wrong and wasn’t a horrible person.”
  • “I love West Covina.”
  • “I was entrenched in that community. The residents didn’t deserve this.”

The city is reportedly weighing its appeal options, and hoping the parties can reach a mutually agreeable settlement. 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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