From Firehouse.com: The city of Erie wants a federal judge to overturn the jury verdict that found the city discriminated against a firefighter when it fired her after she set a fire during a suicide attempt in 2006.
Gerald Villella, assistant city solicitor, filed a motion Tuesday asking U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin to rule that the firefighter, Mary Wolski, had failed to provide enough evidence to prove her claims.
Villella wants a new trial in the case, in which Wolski won back her job and more than $206,000 in back pay and other damages.
Wolski's lawyer, Paul Susko, is expected to file a response to the motion before McLaughlin issues his decision.
A jury unanimously ruled Feb. 6 that the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it terminated Wolski in April 2007.
McLaughlin then immediately ordered the remedy: Wolski, he said, will get her job back, with back pay and seniority intact, as soon as the next available position is open.
The dispute stemmed from Wolski's Dec. 28, 2006, suicide attempt at her father's vacant home in the 1800 block of East 35th Street in the city of Erie.
Wolski, the city's first female firefighter, had fallen into a deep depression after her mother's battle with a staph infection and death in 2005.
Wolski was off work, under the care of a psychiatrist and taking six medications -- all of which had the potential to induce suicidal thoughts -- at the time of the suicide attempt.
Testimony indicated Wolski took a quantity of pills, then threw clothes into a bathtub and lit them, hoping to die by smoke inhalation.
When the heat became too intense, she threw a pan of water on the clothes, then left the bathroom and tried to use a knife to cut her wrists.
Of course, this is the type of firefighter you would want on your fire department: taking 6 psychiatric medicines, trying to commit suicide and committing arson and then try killing yourself again.
A firefighter committing arson should never be allowed to be a firefighter again. And trying to commit suicide 2 times? This is not the type of person you need to have at the firehouse or at the scene of a fire. You just cannot trust a person who is so mentally unstable.
These are not the cases of the American with Disabilities Act was meant to have, but cases like this make the ADA more irrelevant and harms people with real disabilities and real discrimination.
Oh, and the judge? He is a Bill Clinton appointee, so why am I not surprised?