IAFF in Court

“Wants This Case Over With!”

DC Court

Yesterday, the 27th, was the first appearance in DC Superior court in the matter of Gorman v Schaitberger wherein Pete Gorman, former IAFF Chief of Staff and longtime IAFF leader and member, alleges that Schaitberger fired him in retaliation for his bringing to light concerns about possible discriminatory hiring practices at the IAFF.

There were more fireworks than expected at what was supposed to be a meeting about scheduling.

Earlier in the week the IAFF filed a response to Gorman’s suit and then also filed a counter-suit against him seeking monetary damages.

Pete Gorman

It was the classic act of a bully, as Schaitberger surely is.

Rather than simply answer the charges with facts, he acts to incite fear.

He has taken his internal crude mode of bullying into court and it was less than successful.

Mona Lyons, Gorman’s attorney, is taking the position that Schaitberger’s counter action is a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) which is defined as a suit ” intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.”

Now, who is surprised at that?

Schaitberger has long practiced intimidation in order to stifle all dissent.

Shady Schait

DC has a law to protect litigants against such suits and we will see how it all plays out.

The elephant in the room, lumbering about in search of a snack, or more, is discovery, during which both sides will produce documentary evidence and provide testimony under oath in anticipation of a trial.

That should cause more than a few people to have a sleepless night or two as they ponder the questions they might be asked.

Staff are sure to be deposed and it is likely that some vice-presidents would be, as well.

If Gorman’s assertions are true, Schaitberger has an uphill climb.

Every deposition witness must flawlessly back-up Schaitberger’s version while simultaneously navigating a substantial amount of documentary evidence including emails, meetings, etc.–not an easy task.

The more witnesses, the more opportunity for them to be in conflict.

Though we will cover it in detail later, Schaitberger’s counter-suit surely raised the eyes of the discovery elephant as he has opened up a writhing can of worms waiting to be inspected one-by-one.

Credit: CarlSafina

Schaitberger’s attorney was anxious to press on with the case and Judge Wingo, presiding, inquired as to why?

“My client wants the case over with,” she replied.

I am sure he does.

He is used to making the rules and calling the shots and here he is, a fish out of water.

Stay tuned.

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