Vallejo firefighter awarded millions after termination

A Solano County Superior Court jury awarded a former Vallejo firefighter $2.3 million in a civil wrongful termination and retaliation lawsuit.

Todd Milan, 47, claimed he was targeted by two of his higher ranked officers for informing the Division of Occupational Safety and Health about irregularities in procedure that occurred during a mobile home fire on Sept. 29, 2011, his Oakland attorney Leslie Levy said.

Milan expected Capt. Erick Diez to enter a disabled man’s burning home with him, but Diez never entered the structure in violation of requirements that firefighters work in pairs, leaving Milan inside for 90 seconds. The resident later died. Diez also did not have his gloves on at the time of the fire, Levy said.

The complaint also alleged Fire Chief Paige Meyer told Milan as long as his story about the incident matched the accounts of other firefighters he would be fine, and that the City of Vallejo and the Fire Department covered up what happened at the fire the Division of Occupational Safety and Health was investigating.

Levy said the Fire Department retaliated against Milan by not allowing him to re-take an examination he had failed. Milan was still an apprentice firefighter at the time of the incident, and now teaches classes to paramedics’ Levy said.

The jury deliberated about two days after the nine-week trial ended, Levy said. The $2.3 million award is for past and future wage losses and emotional distress, Levy said.