Terminated Texas Deputy Chief Claims Whistleblower Retaliation

A deputy chief who was terminated from the Forney Fire Department, has filed suit claiming he was retaliated against because he raised concerns about firefighters making “under-the-table” payments for shift trades. Logan Kerr was fired from the Forney Fire Department in December, 2022, just four months after he was hired. He was previously with the Shreveport Fire Department, in Louisiana.

Chief Kerr alleges that he discovered firefighters were paying colleagues to trade shifts, and that he alerted the chief and city officials because he believed the payments were illegal. Quoting from the complaint:

  • In response to Plaintiff’ s reports of illegal activity, Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff by placing him on leave, falsely accusing him of dishonesty, and summarily terminating Plaintiffs employment.

Chief Kerr filed suit in Texas’ 298th Judicial District Court alleging a violation of the Texas Whistleblower Act. Quoting from the complaint:

  • The Texas Whistleblower Act protects all Texas governmental employees who report illegal activity of an employee to their governmental employer, and who then subsequently face retaliatory employment action because of that report.
  • Specifically, the TWA‘s Whistleblower protection provision located at Section 554.002 of the Texas Government Code states:
  • “A state or local government entity may not suspend or terminate the employment of or take other adverse personnel actions against a public employee who in good faith reports a Violation of law by the employing governmental entity or another public employee to an appropriate law enforcement authority.”
  • Plaintiff claims that he was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for making one or more reports of Violations of law to his employer and to one or more a law enforcement officer.
  • Plaintiff is entitled to a rebuttable presumption that his employment was terminated and that he was subjected to retaliation, and termination of his employment for making such reports, since such retaliation, and termination occurred in each case within 60 days after the date on which he made his reports made such report.
  • Plaintiff is accordingly entitled to recover lost compensation and benefits, other actual damages including compensatory damages, mental anguish, damages to his reputation, punitive damages, prejudgment interest, and costs of court.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

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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