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Fla. city sues to block 2 firefighters from receiving state cancer benefits

Orlando has spent nearly $35,000 so far on legal fees for the case against District Chief Scott Suehle and another firefighter


By Leila Merrill

ORLANDO — The city of Orlando has named two firefighters in a lawsuit over their claims for cancer-related state benefits.

The suit names Orlando Fire Department District Chief Scott Suehle, who spoke with WFTV recently.

A 2019 law guarantees firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer coverage for all their treatment costs, enhanced disability or death benefits, plus a $25,000 one-time payment.

A WFTV investigative reporter found that Orlando has spent nearly $35,000 so far on legal fees for the case.

The lawsuit is seeking a declaratory judgment on whether the two firefighters qualify for the benefits. Their cancer diagnoses came before the statute was enacted. Despite an initial court filing in favor of the firefighters, the case is on hold while a similar court battle takes place in Volusia County.

In that case, lawyers for retired Volusia County Firefighter Kathleen Weaver have said that her battle for the state benefits package may go to the Florida Supreme Court. She became sick before the law took effect, WFTV reported.

Suehle, meanwhile, looks back on his nearly 27 years as an Orlando firefighter.

“I feel as if I’ve poured my heart and soul into helping the citizens and visitors of Orlando,” he said.


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