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Deputy Has No Claim Against Sheriff When DA Places Him On Brady List

Cody Lane served as a patrol officer in the Marion County Oregon Sheriff’s Office for over ten years. On the evening of November 24, 2017, Lane worked the graveyard shift while his girlfriend celebrated her birthday at a local bar. In the early hours of November 25, 2017, Lane’s girlfriend asked Lane to follow her home as she had a malfunctioning headlight. Lane, already in the area, agreed to…

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Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Opinion Awarding ‘Cancellation Fees’

The City of Newton, Massachusetts and the Newton Police Association are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. When a dispute broke out between them as to whether officers should receive “cancellation fees” when paid details were cancelled on a last-minute basis, the Association challenged the City’s position in arbitration. An arbitrator sided with the Association, awarding late cancellation fees to three officers for their detail work. The City challenged…

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City Stuck With Police Director’s Grievance Resolution

The City of Newark, New Jersey and the Newark Police Superior Officers’ Association (SOA) are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. The SOA represents officers in the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. In 2013, the SOA filed a grievance with the City’s then-Police Director Samuel DeMaio alleging that the City had incorrectly calculated the amounts due to members for their 2010 accrued compensatory time payouts. The payouts did…

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Florida PERC Allows PBA To Use Electronic Balloting For Ratification

Rule 60CC-4.002 of the Florida Administrative Code requires the contract ratification votes of unions to be conducted either at a ratification meeting or by mail. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, for health and safety reasons the Florida PBA filed an emergency petition with Florida’s Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC). The petition sought to conduct all bargaining unit communications, balloting, tallying, and announcements of the results of ratification…

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Firefighter Receives Jail Time For Pension Fraud

Shane Streater, a Camden, New Jersey firefighter, applied for an accidental disability retirement pension in 2009 following two on-the-job accidents in 2007 and 2008. Streater submitted reports from two doctors, John Gaffney and Ralph Cataldo, in support of the application, and the Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System had Streater evaluated by a third doctor, Lawrence Barr. In February 2010, the Board denied Streater’s application…

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‘Mere Technical’ Violations Of Bill Of Rights Not Basis To Reverse Termination

Eric Hiller was a police officer with the Rehoboth Beach Police Department in Delaware. In July 2018, Hiller was advised that he must complete a computer voice stress analyzer exam (CVSA) so that the Department might examine the truthfulness of Hiller’s statements made during his initial interview involving the events of a prisoner transport. A private CVSA examiner, Mike McQuillen was selected to administer the CVSA and Lt. Jaime…

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When Does An Employer Have To Disclose Disciplinary Files?

The City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Police Supervisors’ Organization are parties to a collective bargaining agreement covering sergeants. On May 1, 2019, a police sergeant received written notice from the Department that he would be interviewed on May 14, 2019 as part of an internal investigation concerning his alleged negligent driving. The notice advised the sergeant that “disciplinary action may result.” A criminal investigation as to the…

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Employer Cannot Alter Finalized Discipline Given Firefighters

Justin Chaplin, James Michels, and Frank Schonig are firefighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. In April 2014, they and four other candidates applied to be interviewed for three fire captain positions that had become available. Before the interviews, a battalion chief surreptitiously texted information to Chaplin, Michels and Schonig about the interview, including questions and desired responses. Without reporting that they had received this information,…

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Officer’s Injuries While Commuting Covered By Workers’ Comp

David Figueroa is a police officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). After being absent from work for an extended period due to injury, Figueroa was assigned to a re-acclimation program where he performed his duties using a standard patrol car. Upon completion of the re-acclimation program, Figueroa was set to resume his duties as a traffic officer, which mandated his riding a motorcycle. On March 7,…

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Contracts And Memoranda Of Understanding

In February 2017, the City of Brook Park, Ohio, passed an ordinance calling for the City to pay $100 per month for the hospitalization and/or medical insurance benefits for a group of retired employees. Lodge 15 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the City’s police officers, filed a grievance challenging the ordinance. The FOP claimed that the ordinance violated the terms of a 2009 memorandum of understanding…

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Firefighter Intentionally Hit By Fire Truck Has No Federal Lawsuit

On August 2, 2017, Dane Smothers, Jr., a newly hired District of Columbia firefighter, was struck by a ladder truck while he was attending his first fire. He sustained serious injuries in the accident and filed federal claims against Jon Dyson and Patrick Carey, the operators of the truck, in their official capacities as D.C. firefighters. Smothers’ complaint alleged that “the drivers of the ladder truck intentionally drove into…

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Reinstatement Of Corporal Who Used Unnecessary Force Does Not Violate Public Policy

Corporal Brendon Johnson works as a corrections corporal in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. On May 8, 2016, Johnson responded to a call involving a female inmate with a known history of noncompliance. The inmate had flooded her cell by intentionally clogging her toilet and causing it to overflow. Johnson ordered the inmate to come down from her bunk and, after a period of defiance, she complied with Johnson’s directive. Johnson…

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Non-Shaving Deputy Wins Punitive Damages, Attorney Fees

Lavanden Darks is one of four black deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Missouri. Jackson County employs approximately 100 sworn officers. In 2014, Jackson County required all sworn officers appearing in uniform to be clean shaven with the exception of moustaches. Darks experienced pain with shaving and was medically diagnosed with an inflammatory skin condition known as psuedofolliculitis barbae. After attempting several treatments and other shaving methods,…

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‘Failure To Train’ Claim Must Show Deliberate Indifference

Jo Anne Pepitone is a police sergeant in the Lower Merion, Pennsylvania Police Department. Pepitone sued the Department, alleging that “there have been numerous sexually charged rumors circulating throughout the police department that have contributed to creating a sexually hostile and gender discriminatory hostile work environment,” including rumors that Pepitone had “sexual relationships with her supervisors and members of neighboring police departments” and “was promoted because of a sexual…

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Inadvertent Recording Of Calls On Police Line Does Not Violate Wiretap Laws

In November 2016, the Grand Rapids Police Department dispatched an officer to a car accident site. The driver of the car, a Kent County assistant prosecutor, drove down a one-way street and struck a parked car. The on-scene officer called Lieutenant Matthew Janiskee on a recorded, public line – Line 3604 – and explained the accident; Janiskee responded that the officer should hang up and call him on a…

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Internal Affairs Findings Not Admissible In Civil Lawsuit Against Officer

In 2013, Keith Manson was riding his dirt bike on Flint Street in New Haven, Connecticut. At the same time, Daniel Conklin, an on-duty New Haven police officer, was driving his marked police cruiser on Flint Street, in the opposite direction in which Manson was traveling. As Conklin drove down Flint Street, he observed a father with his young child playing in the street. To provide sufficient space to…

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Double Jeopardy Results In Reversal Of Suspension For Racial Slur

An unnamed Cincinnati, Ohio police officer (employees are often not named in reported disciplinary arbitration decisions) responded to a call at an apartment complex on September 26, 2018. Identified only as Officer , he met the individuals outside the apartment complex and determined that the residents were intoxicated. The officer recognized two of them from working in the community. After directing two male individuals to leave, the men got…

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EMS Captain’s Facebook Post May Be Constitutionally Protected

Jamie Marquardt was a captain with City of Cleveland’s Department of Emergency Medical Services. Marquardt had a “private” Facebook page which did not identify him as a City employee. A little more than a year after a Cleveland police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a post appeared on Marquardt’s Facebook page: “Let me be the first on record to have the balls to say Tamir Rice should…

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No Retaliation If Decision-Maker Unaware Of Protected Activity

Aubrey Lyons is an African-American corrections officer with the Michigan Department of Corrections. After being transferred in 2012 to the Macomb Correctional Facility, Lyons allegedly began to experience various incidents of discrimination by his white supervisors. Lyons filed his first internal discrimination complaint against the Department in January 2015 in response to being disciplined for violating its computer use policies. Lyons claimed the white investigating lieutenant, James Webster, singled…

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Pre-Existing PTSD Does Not Bar Officer’s Disability Claim

Detective Christopher Sardo worked for the Village of Franklin Park, Illinois. Sardo served in the United States Marine Corps from 1987 to 1991, including a tour of duty in Desert Storm. Besides physical danger, his service exposed him to several traumatic events, including fellow Marines being shot at and killed. After his discharge, Sardo experienced depression, flashbacks, and panic attacks. Sardo became a Franklin Park police officer in January…

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Court Upholds Officer’s $500k Judgment Against Sergeant

Officer Detlef Sommerfield works for the Chicago Police Department. Sommerfield was born and raised in Germany, where some of his family members had died in concentration camps during the Holocaust. At some point he emigrated to the United States, settled in Chicago, and joined the CPD. His supervisor was Sergeant Lawrence Knasiak. As the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals described it, “for years, Sommerfield endured vicious anti-Semitic abuse…

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Officer’s Brady Lawsuit Against Prosecutor Survives

On February 8, 2017, Assistant Burleigh County (North Dakota) State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer received an anonymous letter concerning a Bismarck police officer’s destruction of evidence. The letter prompted Lawyer to review the files of all approximately 100 active, sworn Bismarck police personnel. As part of her investigation, Lawyer reviewed the file of Sergeant Robyn Krile. In Krile’s file, Lawyer discovered two letters of reprimand and several performance evaluations which…

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Q & A

From Arizona:Question: I was wondering if you had any case law specific to masks and religion or anything you could point me to that predates the pandemic? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Answer: I’m unaware of any cases on masks and religion. From analogous cases, I can predict how such a case would likely come out. There are a number of religious discrimination cases involving grooming (e.g., hair…

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Budget Discussions Do Not Equal Negotiations

In late 2012, the City of Portland, Oregon began its budget process for the 2013-14 fiscal year anticipating a shortfall. The City asked the Fire Bureau to develop its budget using a modified zero-based budget approach, requesting up to 90 percent of current appropriation levels with prioritized add-back packages for cut items. The Bureau developed its proposed budget through a budgetary advisory committee. Alan Ferschweiler, the president of the…

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Labor Board Refuses To Sever Detectives From Sworn Unit

On October 4, 2019, the St. Petersburg Police Officers’ Association, Inc. (POA) filed a petition seeking to represent a bargaining unit consisting of police detectives employed by the City of St. Petersburg, Florida. The detectives are currently represented by the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (Sun Coast), as part of a bargaining unit that includes the classifications of police officer, forensic services technician, and latent print examiner. Florida’s…

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