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City Pays $295,000 to Settle Wrongful Termination Suit

City Pays $295,000 to Settle Wrongful Termination Suit

How does former paramedic Brad Tate's settlement compare to the many other recent settlements the City has paid?

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI

The city of Albuquerque will pay $295,000 to settle wrongful termination and whistle-blower lawsuits brought by a former fire department paramedic who the city said lacked of compassion for patients, provided inadequate medical treatment and filed incomplete and false reports.

The city settled with the former paramedic, Brad Tate, on March 9, said Tate’s attorney, Michael Cadigan.

The settlement came nearly three months after a state District Court judge ruled that the city violated is own rules, as well a state law, when, during an internal investigation of Tate’s actions, it failed to provide him the names of people who had filed complaints against him.

“This Court concludes the City did not comply with the statutory requirement to disclose the names of complainants prior to commencement of the interrogations,” Judge Beatrice Brickhouse wrote in a Dec. 18, 2015 opinion overturning Tate’s firing. “As a result, the City’s decision to terminate Appellant and the Personnel Board’s decision to uphold the termination were not in accordance with the law.”

The city appealed Brickhouse’s decision, but the New Mexico Court of Appeals rejected the appeal, Cadigan said.

Tate was fired in January of 2013 after a city investigation into complaints against him. During Tate’s Personnel Board hearing in October of that year, one of his patients, Alvira Chavez, who had a chronic diabetic condition, testified that Tate had been to her home several times in the past after she had called 911 for assistance. But on one call, Chavez said that Tate refused to let her be transported to a hospital, even though she was vomiting and had other symptoms.

Chavez testified that Tate said she was faking symptoms and that her behavior that day was an attempt to get attention.

Testimony at the Personnel Board hearing also showed that of the 300 reports that Tate filed during an 18-month period, two-thirds raised concerns or had problems.

Tate had also filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the city in which he said the city unlawfully denied his requests under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act for information related to the investigation against him. That case was settled in the March 9 agreement.

City officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Tate case brings to $7.25 million the city has agreed to pay in lawsuit settlements recently.

Here are the other cases that have recently settled:

  

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.
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  • Paul
    April 1, 2016, 3:40 pm

    Even the weakest employment cases "settle" for good money now when your lawyer is a former City Councilor. Collusion and corruption are the current basis for settlements, seemingly skipping any reasonable claims review process evading any City Council review, no matter how large or unreasonable.

    REPLY
  • The Update: 4-1-16 | Don Santana
    April 4, 2016, 2:01 pm

    […] Topics: City of Albuquerque to pay Det. Jacob Grant $6.5 million to settle civil lawsuit; Grant also requested that the City release the lapel video of Brachle shooting him eight times during an undercover drug bust; ACLU sues NM PED over allegedly “unconstitutional” policy restricting teachers from disparaging standardized testing; Aviation Police Chief Marshall Katz on paid administrative leave pending investigation of mishandled drug evidence; our upcoming issue will cover the grand opening of local cat café Gatos y Galletas; exclusive interview with king of surf rock Dick Dale; Christa Valdez interviews Patrick Fabian; Mayor Berry’s administration announces delay of BRT project construction due to approval hurdles; the City of Albuquerque also to pay former paramedic Brad Tate $295,000 to settle wrongful termination lawsuit. […]

    REPLY
  • The Update: 4-1-16 | Adam Hutchins
    April 4, 2016, 2:20 pm

    […] due to approval hurdles; the City of Albuquerque also to pay former paramedic Brad Tate $295,000 to settle wrongful termination lawsuit. That’s it for now; have fun out […]

    REPLY
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Johnny Vizcaino is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

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