From The Orcasonian:
Orcas Fire loses lawsuit against former Firefighter/Paramedic
A King County arbitrator issued an award today in favor of former Orcas Island Firefighter Paramedic Alex Conrad.
OIFR filed suit against Mr. Conrad in January 2023 claiming breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and promissory estoppel.
The lawsuit sought over twenty-nine thousand dollars from Mr. Conrad and demanded payment of the District's attorney fees and costs and unspecified additional damages. On the day before arbitration, the District voluntarily dismissed half of their claims against Mr. Conrad, including their demand that he pay all attorney fees.
In 2020 Mr. Conrad completed the University of Washington Harborview Medical Center paramedic training program. At the time ,then OIFR Board Chair Tim Fuller thanked Mr. Conrad for his “dedication and hard work.”
When Mr. Conrad accepted a position with Bainbridge Fire and left Orcas in 2022, the District withheld his entire final paycheck as reimbursement for the costs of the paramedic training program. The District failed to provide documentation of their calculation of the alleged debt.
Five months after Conrad left, the District claimed authority to recover up to an additional $68,243.45 in wages from Mr. Conrad; again, without providing documentation.
The arbitrator found that Orcas Fire “may not recover any further amounts from Mr. Conrad under its claim of breach,” and therefore found in favor of Mr. Conrad. The arbitrator concluded that under the Collective Bargaining Agreement “reimbursement shall be made from the employee's final paycheck and/or severance pay” only.
- Orcas Island Fire & Rescue was represented throughout the proceedings by Matt Paxton and Aaron Haynes, CSD Attorneys at Law, Bellingham.
- Alex Conrad was represented by Selby Lighthill, Lighthill Law, Orcas Island.