Parkersburg Firefighters Lawsuit Enters New Phase as Damages Recalculated Following State Supreme Court Ruling

PARKERSBURG, West Virginia – The City of Parkersburg and its firefighters are reassessing damages in a lawsuit concerning holiday pay. The recalculations were prompted by a recent ruling from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. During a hearing on December 8, Judge J.D. Beane of the Wood County Circuit Court allowed for additional time to submit calculations of monetary damages and back pay owed to the affected firefighters. The deadline for submissions was extended to February 7.

At the heart of the lawsuit is a dispute over how the City of Morgantown compensated its firefighters for holidays that fell during their shifts or scheduled time off. The circuit court ruled that firefighters should be compensated based on the portion of their 24-hour shift that coincided with the holiday, rather than receiving a blanket 12 hours of paid time off. The Morgantown firefighters appealed the ruling, arguing that they should be compensated for the full 24-hour shift. They also contested the judge’s determination that the holiday compensation was not subject to the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act, which would have reduced the statute of limitations on damages. The state Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the circuit judge, stating that compensation is only due for the actual hours worked on a holiday, not the entire 24-hour shift.

The decision by the West Virginia Supreme Court has implications beyond Morgantown. In Parkersburg, a lawsuit was filed in 2020 by Lt. Wayne White, who has since retired. In December 2022, Judge Beane ruled that firefighters should be compensated based on a 24-hour schedule. Both parties are now in the process of recalculating damages in light of the recent ruling.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce expressed his satisfaction with the state Supreme Court decision and hopes that it brings clarity and finality to the longstanding issue of holiday pay for firefighters and police personnel. He also emphasized the city’s commitment to maintaining a high level of service for residents while being mindful of the long-term costs associated with personnel and benefits.

Representatives for the City of Parkersburg and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit have not yet provided comment on the recent developments. The case is ongoing, and further updates are expected as the recalculations of damages progress.

Please note that email addresses or links to external websites should not be included in the article.