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San Diego Firefighters Win $34,300 Gay Pride Harassment Judgment

A jury awarded four San Diego firefighters $34,300 in damages (to split between them) for harassment they claimed they suffered after being forced to participate in a Gay Pride parade in 2007:

Ghiotto"Jurors deliberated for about two-and-a-half days before reaching the verdict Tuesday in the case brought by firefighters John Ghiotto, Jason Hewitt, Alex Kane and Chad Allison. The firemen said they were subjected to sexually charged conduct and lewd comments while riding a fire engine in the July 2007 parade. City attorneys said they will appeal the verdict. Jurors were required to determine if the firefighters faced pervasive or severe harassment from spectators and participants. Nancy Chiquete, the jury foreperson, said reaching the decision was 'not easy,' particularly because she said she lives in the city and knows its financial situation is not good. But, Chiquete said, 'I felt truly like these four men were wronged by the situation.' The case was first heard in September but that jury was unable to reach a verdict on the sexual harassment claim. The jury did not know how much money the firefighters had asked for in the first trial, Chiquete said. She said that throughout the trial, the firefighters said they wanted to make a point and prevent the situation from happening to others and wanted to have the department's policy changed. 'So, I think in that sense, hopefully they got what they wanted,' she said. The firefighters' attorney, Charles LiMandri, said he and his clients were pleased."

During the first trail, their attorney had asked for $1 million each for the firefighters.

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  1. San Diego is a conservative town. I could be wrong, but if I am not mistaken, these firefighters' station was either in the gay community (Hillcrest) or was responsible to fight fires in that community.

    Would they have sued if it was a parade for "Sadie Hawkins Day"?

    Posted by: CB | Feb 18, 2009 6:28:31 PM

  2. Hey, I'll call you PATRICK STARFISH if I so desire. I'll call you muffin man or mr. hoppy if I wish.

    What's the difference? Traditionally, anything can happen during the course of ANYTHING. That's no distinction. To rely on the "anything can happen" argument here, well, what happened could easily be reasonably expected to happen, and that they took offense to it is not in keeping what what they could reasonably expect to occur at a gay pride parade that they attended AS A PART OF THEIR JOBS WHICh they were getting paid for. If they didn't want to do their job, they could quit. No one forced them to do this, as they are adults...and could leave their job or even refuse to go. WOuld they have been fired if they refused? We may never know that, republican.

    I don't know what you mean by "certain things are expected to happen as part of the job and a fireman being forced to take part in the parade of this nature" differs at all from what they were expected to do by showing up in the first place. IT doesn't.

    Further, what's the substantive difference here between a police officer or fireman attending the st. patrick's day parade and suing because of public displays of IRISH rowdyness that created a hostile work environment? Or a police officer at mardi gras suing because he saw a woman flash her tits for beads? Is the city then responsible for that, too? This default=city's responsible mentality is WITHOUT defense. Just because the city issues a permit to an event in which, say, a homicidal maniac shoots the joint up doesn't mean that the city is responsible for those that died.

    Whether or not those firefighters felt free to leave the parade during the harassment IS NOT RELEVANT to the fact that the san diego fire dept. didn't have a hand in planning the parade, they actually were free to leave, and that this is a part of their job which they freely partook. The next time I see someone spitting on the street, and become ill as a result, I'm suing the city for failing to protect me from such awful experiences.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 18, 2009 7:00:58 PM

  3. As a member of LGBT, I always keep my eyes on the matter of gay and lesbian. Reading many news about gay mariage i feel very grateful. "There is no difference between LBGT and straight people when it comes to true love. We know how to love and cherish a person."It is what we all bisexual get after the discusssin at BiMingle .com . And all these words is what we would like to let others know from the bottom of our heart. We only hope don't make it special for us LGBT. We do love others as you straight do.

    Posted by: Sallyqon | Feb 18, 2009 10:47:52 PM

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