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7th Circuit affirms judgment against rejected firefighter

May 10, 2018

A man who sued the Indianapolis Fire Department alleging he was not hired as a firefighter as retaliation for his father’s lawsuit against the department lost his appeal of a ruling against him Thursday.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of IFD in Quinn R. Heath v. Indianapolis Fire Department, 17‐2564. His father, Rodney Heath, had filed a whistleblower suit under the False Claims Act alleging that IFD had made false statements to receive federal grants. Quinn Heath’s suit alleges that he was not selected for either one of two firefighter academy classes in 2015 due to his father’s suit.

Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled in favor of IFD, and the 7th Circuit upheld the ruling. The appeals panel found Quinn could not demonstrate based on his academy ranking that he would have been hired as an automatic of discretionary selection, given the number of recruits picked from the 2015 class.

“Quinn was ranked, at best, five spots too low to receive an automatic selection to an academy class. And every discretionary pick in both classes had more markers than Quinn, consistent with the Department’s policy for discretionary selections. Thus, there is no evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that Rodney’s suit was even a motivating factor in the decision not to hire Quinn,” Judge Michael Kanne wrote for the panel.

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