Cleveland Settles Claims With Former Battalion Chief for $990k

A former Cleveland battalion chief who claims he was retaliated against based on the mistaken belief he leaked information to a reporter in 2013, has settled a federal court lawsuit with the city for $990,000. Battalion Chief Sean DeCrane claims he was passed over for promotion and retaliated against by city officials who believed he leaked information about former Fire Chief Daryl McGinnis’ lack of training. The leak purportedly occurred while Chief DeCrane was  serving as the director of training.

Chief DeCrane filed suit in 2016 alleging a violation of his First Amendment Rights, retaliation, false light invasion of privacy, and intimidation/hindering public servants under state law. In 2021 the case made its way to the US Sixth Circuit, who concluded that qualified immunity did not insulate city officials from liability. The case was then sent back to the district court for trial, paving the way for the settlement.

Here is a copy of the original compliant.

Here is a copy of the Sixth Circuit ruling.

Here is more on the settlement.

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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