Pelham lawsuit nearing conclusion

Published 1:58 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Negotiations continue to settle the final part of a lawsuit brought against Pelham in May 2010. (File)

Lawyers continue negotiations to settle the final part of a lawsuit brought against Pelham in May 2010. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Lawyers are still working to settle a class-action lawsuit brought against the city of Pelham by a group of Pelham firefighters. While pieces of the nearly four-year-old case have been settled, final negotiations regarding vacation accrual claims still continue.

The lawsuit was originally filed against Pelham in May 2010 by firefighters Kenneth Camp, Todd McCarver, Patrick Smith, Stephen Kiel and Randall Bearden, since retired. The plaintiffs claimed city did not properly compensate firefighters for overtime worked, in violation of both the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Pelham Civil Service Law.

The two sides failed to reach an agreement as the Pelham City Council intended to reject a proposed memorandum of understanding during a Nov. 4, 2013 meeting. However, this item was removed from the meeting’s agenda and was not voted on.

During a Dec. 13 U.S. District Court hearing, District Court Judge Madeline Haikala sent the case to a jury trial scheduled for March 4.

Both sides continued to work toward an agreement before the scheduled court date. In February, the Pelham City Council approved a $170,000 payment to settle the Fair Labor Standards Act portion of the lawsuit, and during a March 3 City Council meeting, a $30,000 payment to settle holiday pay claims was approved.

On March 5, a stipulation regarding vacation accrual claims, the final piece of the case, was submitted to the court. While both sides declined comment, legal documents show that the plaintiffs are seeking $326,000 in damages from the city. The case will not be tried in front of a jury, rather the matter will be decided by a judge.