Former Mo. firefighter settles discrimination lawsuit for $250K

Harold W. Conner said in his suit that he was forced to retire from the Northeast Ambulance and Fire Protection District because he is white


Joel Currier
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Northeast Ambulance and Fire Protection District, embroiled in allegations of financial mismanagement a decade ago, has settled a 2010 lawsuit with a former firefighter for $250,000.

The district agreed to pay former firefighter Harold W. Conner $250,000 to settle his lawsuit, which alleged he was forced to retire in 2008 or face discipline because of his race. Conner, now 72, is white.

The Post-Dispatch recently obtained the settlement by requesting it under the Missouri Sunshine Law.

In addition to discrimination and retaliation, Conner's lawsuit claimed the district owed him thousands in unpaid accumulated sick and vacation pay. Conner's lawyer argued in court filings that the district could not avoid paying accumulated sick leave based on an outdated district policy.

A St. Louis County jury in September 2017 awarded Conner more than $400,000, but a judge later set aside the verdict and ordered a new trial. The judge in 2018 dismissed some of Conner's racial discrimination and retaliation claims but allowed others, including breach of contract, to be retried.

The case was later transferred to two other judges before the parties signed the settlement agreement on June 29. The case was dismissed on Aug. 11.


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