San Diego DUI Law Center

San Diego DUI defense attorneys at are told a
jury declared last week that city officials wrongly fired a Bakersfield firefighter and now must pay him $100,000.

But city officials were mum Monday on how they’ll react.

A change in policy? Discipline for the fire chief? The wronged man getting his job back?

“You’re asking questions I don’t have any answers to,” Councilman Harold Hanson said Monday. “I would be better able to discuss it with you after I’ve talked to counsel.”

Two other council members and the city manager also demurred, in part because the case isn’t completely resolved. A judge still has to rule on attorney’s fees.

Robby Pratt was fired in 2007, supposedly for having twice been arrested for driving under the influence. He pled down in one case and the other was dismissed, said his California DUI Defense & premier lawyer in the two cases.

But the jury declared the real reason Pratt was fired was that he was believed to be gay, and for reporting alleged misconduct by another firefighter.

Richard Middlebrook was Pratt’s attorney on three earlier cases — the two DUI charges and a fight where Pratt stepped up to defend a woman, according to Middlebrook. He said Pratt has, on one level, been vindicated, but on another he lost.

“He can’t even get his job back,” Middlebrook said. “The $100,000 doesn’t change a thing.”

The amount of money the jury awarded is just one year’s worth of pay and benefits, Middlebrook said, and Pratt is unlikely to get hired on at any other fire department.

Meanwhile, John Weber, the captain whose harassment of Pratt sparked the case, has taken a new job with the Manhattan Beach Fire Department, according to the city’s human resources department.

Pratt had gone through the city’s administrative process to get his job back, but lost all those appeals.

That doesn’t sit well with Dennis Roe, a firefighter who testified on Pratt’s behalf in the two-week trial.

“Since he was wrongfully terminated, shouldn’t he get his job back?” Roe said.

He said he doesn’t have high hopes that the verdict will be a wake-up call to fire department management.

San Diego DUI Lawyer Rick Mueller is a premier San Diego County Drunk Driving, DUI & DMV Defense attorney with over 25 years of experience. Known as a “DMV Guru,” Rick Mueller dedicates 100% of his law practice to aggressively defending those accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. He has successfully saved the driving privileges of many clients in the past year alone. Complete the important Free San Diego County Drunk Driving Defense Survey to find out your best strategy and to protect your driving privileges in California.

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