Yonkers Firefighters Permanently Disabled on the Job File Lawsuit for Legal Remedy

Hezi Aris Finance, Governance, Law, People, Politics, Radio, Westchester County, NY, Yonkers, NY 28 Comments

YONKERS, NY — September 13, 2017 —Attorneys of the firm of Eisenberg & Schnell LLP yesterday filed legal suit against the City of Yonkers demanding a jury trial on behalf of Plaintiffs Robert Fumarelli, William Parker, Arthur Rivera, Stephen Ronan, Thomas Spaun, among other persons similarly situated. The nature of the legal action is based on the fact that for approximately thirty-five years, the City of Yonkers (CoY) paid its firefighters and fire officers, collectively to be referred to as “firefighters” herein, who became permanently disabled in the line of duty a disability payment pursuant to New York General Municipal Law (GML) §207-a(2). This payment was equal to the difference between the firefighter’s full “regular salary or wages” and the amount the firefighter receives as a New York State and Local Retirement System/New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System (“NYSLRS”) allowance for accidental disability retirement or retirement for disability incurred in the performance of duty. Yonkers paid these GML §207-a(2) payments pursuant to the statutory framework described below to ensure the disabled firefighters receive the full “regular salary or wages” that was earned prior to becoming disabled.

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The suit notes that since at least 1982, Yonkers computed and reported the full “regular salary of wages” to NYSLRS and the firefighter to calculate the GML §207-a(2) payment, by including check-in pay, night differential pay, and holiday pay (“full pay components”) – which all firefighters receive as part of their regular compensation – as part of every firefighter’s “regular salary or wages.” Yonkers accordingly included these full pay components as part of the GML §207-a(2) payment it provided.

However in the latter part of 2015, Yonkers unilaterally and abruptly changed its position and practice. the City of Yonkers decided the full pay components were improperly paid to plaintiffs and those similarly situated to them. It omitted these full pay components from the calculation of the GML §207-a(2) payments, and stated its intention to recoup the alleged overpayments from plaintiffs and those similarly situated for prior years.

In so doing, Yonkers began, and continues to treat plaintiffs and those similarly situated differently from non-disabled firefighters, based on their disability and having a record of a disability.

So the Plaintiffs have brought this action to remedy discrimination on the basis of disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and the New York State Human Rights Law. Plaintiffs also allege breach of contract for deprivation of their vested right to receive GML §207-a(2) payments including the full pay components.

Plaintiffs further seek declaratory and injunctive relief, back and front pay, attorney’s fees and costs, and any other appropriate legal and equitable remedies under the applicable laws.

Plaintiffs continue to be employed by the defendant, the City of Yonkers, and continue to receive pay raises as provided to all active duty firefighters. Plaintiffs are qualified individuals with a disability within the meaning of the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act, and therefore entitled to protection from discrimination based on disability.

The City of Yonkers is a municipal corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York, which maintains its principal place of business at Yonkers City Hall, 40 South Broadway, Yonkers, New York 10701. Defendant is an employer covered by the ADA and NYHRL. Defendant receives federal financial assistance within the meaning of the Rehabilitation Act.

Since at least 1982, Yonkers reported to NYSLRS for plaintiffs and the putative class the firefighters’ salary that NYSLRS uses to calculate a retiree’s benefit as including the full pay components.

Since at least 1982, Yonkers has paid the full pay components to (a) all active firefighters who are not disabled and (b) all active firefighters who have been approved for benefits under GML§ 207-a(l) and assigned light-duty positions.

Since at least 1982 until as described below, Yonkers included the full pay components in the GML §207-a(2) payment paid to all firefighters who received NYSLRS accidental or performance of duty disability retirement benefits, including to plaintiffs and the putative class.

Prior to making the adjustment or recoupment, Yonkers afforded plaintiffs and the putative class “due process” hearings to object that the adjustment and recoupment should not be made.

Forty-four members of the putative class requested due process hearings; forty-three participated in the “due process” hearings in February and March 2016.

Following the hearings, the hearing officers made Reports of Findings and Recommendation to Yonkers Commissioner of Human Resources Carlos Moran.

The hearing officers recommended that the objections be denied, that Yonkers proceed to adjust the GML §207-a(2) payments by omitting the full pay components therefrom, and that Yonkers recoup the overpayments.

By letters dated April 5, 2016 from Commissioner of Human Resources Moran, Yonkers adopted the recommendations as a final determination and notified plaintiffs and the putative class members that it would reduce their GML §207-a(2) payments and recoup overpayments, although it temporarily held the recoupment in abeyance.

Thereafter, Yonkers reduced the GML §207-a(2) payments for plaintiffs and the putative class by excluding the full pay components from their regular salary or wages and GML §207-a(2) payments.

Plaintiffs demand a trial by jury in this action as is their right.

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Hezi ArisYonkers Firefighters Permanently Disabled on the Job File Lawsuit for Legal Remedy

Comments 28

  1. Insert Politicians name here

    No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

    The Scarlet Letter, Chapter 20

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    How can you look yourself in the mirror?

  2. Spano has got some splaining to do

    He can tell it to the jury and see who they side with. They will be selling tickets to see this show. Only problem is Yonkers is going to pay pay pay.

  3. A Can Of "WORMS" is Now Open.........

    All these “DISABLED” plaintiffs must have all their individual cases opened up.
    Let us see what webs they have weaved ?
    also, my source has told me that they are getting FULL SOCIAL SECURITY benefits.
    All on top of their TAX FREE salaries, that the citizens of Yonkers are paying.
    This all is just plain gaming and GOLD BRICKING.
    Open up all their cases and let the public know what is going on here.

    1. gold standard

      GOLDBRICKING? file a f o i l and see how much the the city has paid these expert lawyers for their efforts to deny contractually entitled wages? GOLDBRICKING is when you knock up your girl friend don’t, want to get married and to insure your babys momma has income and benefits to avoid child support secure a well paying job at city hall .

      1. Mary Lou Who??????????

        A law firm from Syracuse NY sent down someone to Yonkers to BUST union contracts.

        This person was hired by The COY and is PAID BY YONKERS TAXPAYERS!

        The law firm partners are close friends with Cuomo.

        This law firm will collect MILLIONS in tax dollar fees representing the COY in this matter.

        The Coy will loose this case eventually, but they do not care either way because this law firm stands to make serious bank on this ruse……

        Yes, I typed “ruse.” This is EXACTLY what this is………!


        They wrap it up under the auspices of “Saving the taxpayers money” and “greedy ff’s taking advantage when in all actuality, this litigation will cost the Yonkers Taxpayers much more money…..

        The COY will spend more money on this action then what they are contractually obligated to pay the disabled ff’s.

        If the “people” do not like the current contracts in place, petition your illustrious leaders and voice your opinions (not that they will ever matter.) When it is time for contract negotiations then, and only then, can you make changes in the form of a NEW CONTRACT!

        Contract = Legal binding agreement between two or more parties.


        Now, if Spano can get away with that, what else do you think he can do to you?????

        Just look at what damage he has done already.

        When I post the word “Spano”, just understand that it is Nick is doing all of this because Mike is a mental midget.

        Other than that, I’m sure we are all perfectly safe and Spano has our backs……

        He really cares about Yonkers………………………………………………………(not!)

  4. Sam The Smerk

    Mike Spano violated the City’ contract by having the COY automatically deduct the “Supplemental” wages in question from the disabled ff’s supplement WITHOUT DUE PROCESS AND WITHOUT AN ORDER FROM OF A JUDGE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Let me post that statement again………”WITHOUT DUE PROCESS AND WITHOUT AN ORDER FROM OF A JUDGE!!!!!!!!!!!”

    That is illegal.

    But hey, this is Yonkers!

    What could possible go wrong????????

    1. Sue Gerry strikes out again

      “Let them sue us” Sue Gerry is going to lose another one. These morons in City Hall are as about as incompetent as possible. I hope the jury makes these asholes pay big time.

    2. confused

      Just to be clear, did the supplemental wages include uniform allowances? And if so, why should the City continue to fund this expense if they are retired?

      1. You'll never be clear. The JURY will teach the Spanos

        Wrong again you dope. When you and Mike Spano learn to read you’ll both be able to read the trial transcript and the jury award that will have a lot of zeros on it.

      2. A contract is a contract is a contract........


        If you do not like it, get in the “Good old boy club” and make changes when it comes time for a new contract.

        This is called “Contract Negotiations!”

        You just can’t arbitrarily decide to alter a contract that is already in place and expect the other parties not to respond legally!

        The COY is breaking the law.

        Plain and simple.

  5. Plaintiffs Demand JURY Trial

    I kind of think that when these severely disabled firefighters testify that the jury will be enraged at the discrimination they were subjected to by the Spano goons. That will translate into a lot of $$$$$$$$$$


      Its part of their net pensionable pay you ignorant F@CK ! These guys got hurt helping stupid people like you with no discrimination towards idiotic or racial bias!!

  6. How many millions will Mike Spano cost us this time?

    When is the madness going to stop? Mike Spano goes around saying everything is great but everyone is suing him and the City. We’ll be paying for Spanos mistakes and sins for years to come.

  7. Payback is a bitch Bitch

    Did Spano think we were going to sit back and do nothing? Stay tuned folks these dirty rotten Spandrels are going to be sorry.


    Keep an eye on the filings in federal court because there are several more coming soon and some of them will be filed by federal district court attorneys and they wont be good news for the Spano administration and some other bad actors in city hall.

    1. no you go away spano loser

      and you can congratulate Tony and wave goodbye to him in 2 years as you all exit city hall and wilson tererro is carrying your garbage bags

  9. There aught to be a law against that

    Oh there is. You can’t discriminate against people because of their disabilities. It just ain’t cool.

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