California Captain Files Third Race Discrimination Suit in Seven Years

A Montebello fire captain who sued the department for race discrimination in 2013 and 2017, has filed his third race discrimination lawsuit. Captain Vernon Creswell filed suit yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging for retaliation, disability discrimination, and violation of the California Firefighter Procedural Bill of Rights.

Captain Creswell was placed on administrative leave last August when the department began investigating him. The department has subsequently issued him a notice of intent to terminate, and his Skelly Hearing (aka Loudermill Hearing for non-Californians) is scheduled for December 30, 2020. The complaint alleges the current discipline is attributable to his earlier lawsuits as well as his complaints about racism in the department.

Captain Creswell prevailed in his first lawsuit, with a jury in 2015 awarding him $935,150 in damages, $185,150 in lost wages and $750,000 for emotional distress. The 2017 suit alleged he was wrongfully passed over for promotion to battalion chief. That case is schedule to go to a jury trial in April 2021.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

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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