Reinstated firefighter set to file federal lawsuit against Clark County

Donald Munn is firing back.

The ousted Clark County firefighter, who won his job back earlier this week, intends to file a federal lawsuit against his employer.

A settlement or judgment in Munn’s favor would be an additional cost to the taxpayers footing the bill for his reinstatement.

The federal lawsuit, expected to be filed next week, follows an arbitration ruling in favor of Munn, who must be paid the year’s worth of salary and benefits he would have earned had he not been fired.

Munn, 58, was fired last year after being accused by county officials of abusing his sick leave in an apparent overtime fraud scandal. He returns to work Monday.

Attorney Andrew Rempfer said Friday the new lawsuit will seek damages for defamation, violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act, due process and potential violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Rempfer said the lawsuit isn’t meant to pour salt in the county’s wound after losing the arbitration case; rather, it’s for Munn, who is “trying to vindicate his reputation.”

“The county won’t admit it to this day, even if he gets a dollar, that they violated his rights,” Rempfer said. “It’s never been about money with this guy. He had to come out of his own pocket to defend himself. He wasn’t floating around on everyone else’s money.”

County officials declined to comment Friday.

Union officials said they did not represent Munn because he was technically retired as he withdrew funds from his retirement account. Munn said he never intended to retire.

Munn was one of two firefighters fired for alleged sick leave abuse. The other was Battalion Chief Renee Dillingham, whose arbitration case is pending. The union is representing Dillingham. A ruling on her case is expected in the next few months.

Munn said he takes issue with county officials who released his name and emails about taking time off to media outlets. Munn said he followed the rules for missing work to care for his son, Brian, who has developmental issues caused by fetal alcohol syndrome.

“I’m not very happy about the fact that they didn’t release anybody’s name except mine and the other one who was fired,” Munn said. “The policy with other places is that they don’t comment on personnel manners.”

County officials have argued that the emails, which they say are public record, and Munn’s work schedule point to abuse of sick leave and that he didn’t want to work for the department any longer.

Munn suggests the district attorney’s office should review termination cases.

“They’ve lost quite a few that are pretty expensive for them,” Munn said. “It’s not very good for taxpayers, and as a taxpayer, I’m not very happy about it either.”

Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at
kjourdan@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

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