Former Buckland fire chief alleges wrongful dismissal in lawsuit

By Taylor MacPherson
June 11, 2018 - 5:00pm

The former chief of the Buckland Co-operative Volunteer Firefighters has filed a lawsuit alleging he was improperly forced out after more than two decades with the department.

In a notice of claim, former Fire Chief Jim Miller claims he was dismissed in March of 2017 based on allegations made against him by members of the fire department’s board of directors. Miller’s claim said he was not provided with the particulars of the allegations against him and was dismissed without having a chance to respond or to defend himself. Miller’s lawsuit named the Buckland Co-operative Volunteer Firefighters as a defendant, along with eight individual members of the fire department’s board at the time.

Miller’s lawsuit states he suffered significant damages due to the allegedly-wrongful dismissal, including lost pay, lost benefits, and emotional distress. The claim seeks general damages “in an amount exceeding $100,000” along with interest, court costs, and other “special damages” in amounts to be proven at a trial.

“The manner and circumstances of Jim’s dismissal and the actions of the individual defendants were high-handed, malicious and in bad faith,” the claim states. “The acts of the individual Defendants … were and continue to be vindictive, reprehensible and malicious in nature entitling Jim to punitive, exemplary or aggravated damages.”

No response to Miller’s suit has been filed, a court employee confirmed, and no hearing date has yet been set. Mitchell Holash, who is representing Miller in the case, said a statement of defence will likely be filed before the end of the month, which will allow the claim to proceed.

Leonard Yungwirth, who currently chairs the fire department’s board, declined to comment when contacted by paNOW except to say the matter is private and of no concern to the public.

The allegations have not been tested before the courts.


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