Fire Law











November 2020
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In this edition of Fire Law Vlog, Curt and Bill Maccarone discuss a recent decision out of Texas holding that firefighters at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport assigned to EMS do not qualify for the 207k exemption. Why is that a big deal?


Because without the 207k exemption they are entitled to overtime after 40 hours per week, not 212 hours in 28 days!



Here is the 203y definition discussed:

29 USC §203 (y) “Employee in fire protection activities” means an employee, including a firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, rescue worker, ambulance personnel, or hazardous materials worker, who—

(1) is trained in fire suppression, has the legal authority and responsibility to engage in fire suppression, and is employed by a fire department of a municipality, county, fire district, or State; and

(2) is engaged in the prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires or response to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk.


Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_36_-_11_3_20_1.31_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm EST

In this episode, Curt and Attorney Kali Henderson discuss the suit she just filed on behalf of four Southfield firefighters who were disciplined by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Oakland County Medical Control Authority, after a patient was declared dead, released to a funeral home, and found to be alive hours later by funeral home staff preparing to embalm her.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_35_-_9_13_20_10.51_AM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:57am EST

In this episode, Curt discusses fire service disciplinary challenges with Assist Chief Nicol Juratovac. Nicol, an EFO grad with a law degree, is a 23-year veteran of the San Francisco Fire Department. Listen as they discuss fire departments who weaponize their disciplinary process, and well as the issue of double jeopardy for disciplinary matters.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_34_-_7_2_20_8.49_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:57pm EST

In this episode of Fire Law VLOG and Fire Law Podcast, Curt and attorney Kevin Fairlie discuss the recent action by the federal government to deposit funds in the bank accounts of fire departments that bill for EMS. The deposit has certain strings attached, which fire chiefs need to understand.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_33_-_5_1_20_12.59_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:05pm EST

In this episode, Curt and Bill Maccarone discuss the legal implication of the Corona Virus COVID-19 quarantine on fire departments and firefighters. Quarantine raises questions associated with sick leave, work-time, overtime, and workers compensation and all are discussed in the podcast.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_32_-_3_3_20_4.05_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:10pm EST

In this episode, Curt follows up a podcast from last month with attorney Kevin Fairlie to address some questions that listeners submitted about the challenges associated with fire departments who bill Medicare and Medicaid for EMS transports. Kevin’s law practice concentrates on health care related topics, but a recent spate of federal investigations across the country into fire department EMS billing practices has led to a shift toward representing fire departments.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_31_-_2_5_20_6.44_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:54pm EST

In today’s episode, Curt talks with attorney Kevin Fairlie about the challenges facing fire departments who bill for EMS transports. Kevin’s law practice concentrates on health care related topics, but a recent spate of federal investigations across the country into fire department EMS billing practices has led him to represent numerous fire departments. If your fire department bills for EMS, you need to listen to this podcast.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_30_-_1_10_20_3.09_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:16pm EST

In this episode, Curt and Bill Maccarone expound on Curt’s January, 2020 article in Firehouse Magazine addressing the most common ways that fire departments are being sued for overtime violations.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_29_-_1_5_20_11.13_AM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:20am EST

In today’s episode, Curt discusses the results of a survey of legal proceedings in fire departments with firefighter-attorney Bill Maccarone. The raw data from the survey is provided on Fire law Blog. My recommendation is that you view the data while listening to the podcast, as during the podcast we do not mention all of the actual numbers. If you have the data in front of you the discussion will make a lot more sense.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_28_-_12_24_19_12.29_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39pm EST

In this episode, Curt discusses an FLSA lawsuit filed by a Memphis firefighter, Jon Misewicz, over the issue of whether firefighters had to be compensated for attending mandatory paramedic training. Misewizc v. City of Memphis is the definitive ruling on the compensability of EMS training time for firefighters.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_27_-_8_22_19_6.00_AM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:07am EST

In this episode, Curt and Tucson attorney Jeff Jacobson discuss the case of Tucson Firefighter-Paramedic Carrie Clark. On April 12, 2019 a federal court jury awarded Clark $3.8 million for gender discrimination and retaliation, and violations of the Nursing Mothers Act (which is a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act) and FLSA retaliation. Jeff was Clark’s attorney.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_26_-_4_21_19_6.58_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:07pm EST

The Orland Park Fire Protection District joined 13 Illinois communities in filing suit against drug manufacturers and distributors over the opioid epidemic. In this episode, Curt discusses the suit with attorney Ari Scharg, who represents Orland Park.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_25_-_7_20_18_8.26_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37pm EST

In this episode, Curt discusses a little known problem, Pink Collar Crime, with Kelly Paxton. Kelly runs the web site and is helping to debunk the myths that many of us hold about fire service embezzlement.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_24_-_1_10_18_8.03_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09pm EST

In this episode, Curt discusses drone law with Dr. Thomas Abbott and Civil Air Patrol Commander Daniel Leclair from the University of Maine’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems program. Tom is the director of the university’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems program and Dan is one of the instructors in the program.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_23_-_6_27_17_4.54_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm EST

In this episode, Curt and Linda Willing discuss the cultural and legal challenges associated with hazing, pranks and bullying in the fire service. Linda is a retired fire officer from the Boulder (CO) Fire Department, and is now a noted author, columnist and lecturer. She is the author of On the Line: Women Firefighters Tell Their Stories, and is a monthly columnist for FireRescue1 and Fire Chief.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_22_-_6_25_17_8.23_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31pm EST

In this episode, Curt and attorney Brian Bregman discuss the complicated legal issues associated with disciplinary investigations where the accused firefighters are potentially subject to criminal liability – and may have a 5th Amendment Right to remain silent.

Brian represented one of two Prince George’s County volunteer firefighters who were recently acquitted of assaulting two female career firefighters at the scene of a structure fire in 2015. In the case important Garrity issues arose in terms of whether the volunteers could be compelled to answer questions, thereby giving up their 5th Amendment Right to remain silent. The question also arose as to whether the county or the members’ volunteer fire company was legally able to compel the answers.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_21_-_6_1_17_8.42_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49pm EST

In this episode, Curt discusses the recent acquittal of two Prince George’s County volunteer firefighters with Attorney Brian Bregman. Brian represented one of the firefighters accused of assaulting two female career firefighters at the scene of a structure fire in 2015.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_20_-_5_22_17_12.10_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:38pm EST

In this episode, Curt and attorney Matt Dolan discuss the leadership challenge of dealing with the toxic employee. Approximately 60 percent of fire service litigation are HR-types of suits, and many of those lawsuits involve the 1% who make everyone’s lives more difficult: the toxic employee.

Curt and Matt will be presenting a program on Fire Service Leadership in Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 15-16, 2017. Click here for more details.


Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_19_-_4_21_17_1.03_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:16pm EST

In this episode Curt and retired Battalion Chief John Cagno discuss cyberbullying in the fire service. The discussion ranges from legal considerations to leadership responsibilities.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_18_-_3_23_17_7.47_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59pm EST

Are fire officers eligible for overtime? Does rank matter? In this episode Curt and Bill Maccarone discuss overtime issues associated with fire officers. Many fire departments consider some or all of their officers to be exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA under the “white collar” exemption. Court cases between 1985 and 2003 were all over the board. In 2004, the US Department of Labor implemented the First Responder Regulations in an effort to clarify the difficult issues.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_17_-_3_19_17_8.19_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46pm EST

In this episode, Curt and Bill Maccarone continue their discussion about FLSA overtime issues in the fire service with an introduction to the so-called white-collar exemptions that allow employees classified as executives, administrative or professionals to be exempt from minimum wage and maximum hours requirements. Also discussed is the small fire department exemption.


This is the fourth in a series of podcasts about how the FLSA impacts the fire service.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_16_-_3_8_17_8.16_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29pm EST

In this episode, Curt and Bill Maccarone continue their discussion about overtime issues in the fire service with an overview of "regular rate". Regular rate refers to the amount of hourly compensation that must be multiplied by 1.5 to determine the overtime rate. While that may seem simple, its application is anything but.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_15_-_2_27_17_5.40_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm EST

In this episode, Curt and Bill Maccarone continue their discussion about overtime issues in the fire service with an overview of the 207k partial exemption. The 207k, or 7k, exemption extends the maximum hours for firefighters from 40 to 53 hours per week and extends the 7 day work week to a possible 28 day work period.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_14_-_2_21_17_4.03_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:27am EST

Curt and Bill Maccarone discuss the Fair Labor Standards Act, and how the FLSA impacts fire departments ranging from career to volunteer.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_13_-_2_16_17_8.54_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:02pm EST

In this episode, Curt talks with Oakland attorney Leslie Levy about the $2.3 million verdict she won on behalf of former Vallejo firefighter Todd Milan. Milan was terminated from the Vallejo Fire Department in November, 2012. His problems began on September 29, 2011 at the scene of a mobile home fire that claimed the life of a disabled man. Milan claims he was ordered to force entry by a battalion chief, and upon entering found himself alone because his officer apparently forgot his gloves on the apparatus. Milan sustained second and third degree burns trying to effect the rescue but was “forced to leave the structure without removing the victim from the structure, because the fire intensified to extremely high temperatures presenting imminent threat of death.”

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_12_-_3_28_16_3.05_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm EST

In this episode of Fire Law, Curt and Florida firefighter-attorney Mike Clelland discuss Mike’s recent victory for an Orlando firefighter who was seeking a cancer-related disability pension. Mike, a 26 year fire service veteran and former state legislator, now practices with the law firm of Morgan & Morgan.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_11_-_12_31_15_8.23_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33pm EST

In this episode of Fire Law, Curt interviews Ginger Adams Otis, the author of Firefight: The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York's Bravest. Ginger is a writer at the NY Daily News and previously worked at the NY Post. She started covering NY City Hall and the FDNY when she worked for The Chief-Leader. She's been a radio and print freelancer for WNYC, the Associated Press, BBC, National Public Radio, The Village Voice and national magazines such as Jane and Ms.

The interview covers her reasons for writing the book, her research and her conclusions about racial issues in the FDNY.


Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_10_-_12_3_15_9.17_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:29pm EST

In this episode, firefighter attorney Bill Maccarone and Curt discuss a recent 9th Circuit ruling in an overtime case brought by 82 California firefighters who claimed their fire department miscalculated their overtime.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_9_-_9_14_15_4.02_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EST

In this edition of Fire Law, Curt discusses the controversial settlement of an FDNY discrimination suit with Attorney Peter J. Gleason, himself a retired FDNY firefighter. Peter represented FDNY firefighter Kevin Simpkins who was awarded a disability pension earlier this year. The settlement made for sensational headlines. Consider the following from the NY Post on may 22, 2015:


He’s had a much better run in court than battling fires.


Twelve-year FDNY firefighter Kevin Simpkins — the public face for a racial-discrimination class action by minority firefighters the city settled for $98 million — has won another jackpot from the de Blasio administration.


Under a settlement finalized with the city and filed in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday, the litigious firefighter will retire at a 75 percent disability pension.


 Let’s go beyond the headlines.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_8_-_8_17_15_4.52_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:12pm EST

Fire Law - Episode 7 - Duty to Act

In this episode, Curt explores the connection between the law relating to duty to act and real life in a discussion with Fire Commissioner Dave Phillips, from the Washingtonville Fire District in New York. Commissioner Phillips suffered a heart attack and was brought back to life through the valiant efforts of his son, an FDNY firefighter, and a local EMS unit.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_7_-_7_19_15_10.44_AM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am EST

Fire Law Episode 6 - Product Liability Suits Over Fire Helmets

In this episode of Fire Law, attorney Jim Magazine discusses the five lawsuits he has filed over neck injuries to firefighters from the Cairns 1044 Helmet. The product liability suits were filed in Florida state court against MSA, the parent company for Cairns. The suits claim the helmets are defectively designed.


Direct download: FIRE_LAW_Episode_6_-_3_20_15_11.28_AM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44am EST

Rialto, California firefighter Nick DeLia brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action in US District Court against the City of Rialto, the City of Rialto Fire Department, and several city officials after he was ordered to go into his personal residence and bring two rolls of fiberglass insulation out, in violation of the 4th Amendment. The case went to the US Supreme Court, and in this podcast Nick explains what happened and how the case turned out.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_5_-_3_4_15_2.35_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:56pm EST

In this podcast District of Columbia Battalion Chief Richard Sterne explains the circumstances surrounding his demotion by Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe for not finding two officers guilty of charges at a disciplinary hearing. Curt Varone and DC Attorney Jim Pressler review the facts, the law and the politics behind the scene in the Nation’s Capitol.

Direct download: FIRE_LAW_4_-_2_6_15_6.33_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48pm EST

Fire Law Podcast - Episode 3: California Police Fire Wars

On February 4, 2014, Chula Vista firefighter Jacob Gregoire was arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer at the scene of a roll over on Interstate 805. Curt Varone and FF Gregoire’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, discuss the arrest and the civil suit they have brought against the officer and CHP.

Direct download: Fire_Law_PODCAST_3_-_6.16.14_-_6_23_14_11.53_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:19am EST

Curt Varone discusses a recently filed lawsuit in Kentucky against an ambulance company and two EMTs with the attorney who brought the action, John Vincent. The suit claims a 15 year old girl was the victim of sexual misconduct during a transport last December.

Direct download: Fire_Law_PODCAST_2_-_6.13.14_-_6_13_14_8.42_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56pm EST

Can fire officers be disciplined for not supervising subordinates while off duty? Curt Varone and Illinois attorney Patrick Walsh discuss a suit pending in Illinois challenging the discipline of four firefighters for an altercation last December after a Christmas party.

Direct download: Fire_Law_PODCAST_1_-_5914.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50am EST