NYC must pay more than $17M in unpaid overtime to FDNY EMS

City lawyers have 30 days to hand over the $17 million to the law firm representing the FDNY EMTs and paramedics — or appeal the decision to a higher court


Noah Goldberg
New York Daily News

The city must fork over more than $17 million dollars to FDNY paramedics and emergency medical technicians who consistently worked 30 minutes of unpaid overtime during their shifts, a judge ruled Thursday.

The decision could be the final blow for the city in a lawsuit filed in 2013 on behalf of EMS members who regularly clocked in 15 minutes before they started work and clocked out 15 minutes after their shift — but didn’t get paid for it.

“We’re thrilled with the honorable Judge Broderick’s ruling. He had to go through the city’s kitchen sink argument,” said Molly Elkin, the lead attorney for the EMS workers. “Everything they put in the kitchen sink he shoved down the drain.”
“We’re thrilled with the honorable Judge Broderick’s ruling. He had to go through the city’s kitchen sink argument,” said Molly Elkin, the lead attorney for the EMS workers. “Everything they put in the kitchen sink he shoved down the drain.” (Photo/FDNY EMS)

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Vernon Broderick ruled that the city had to pay up to $17 million in 2020, but lawyers for the city asked for a new jury trial in the case. On Thursday, Broderick stood firm, writing that they “d[id] not come close,” to convincing him to toss the judgment.

“We’re thrilled with the honorable Judge Broderick’s ruling. He had to go through the city’s kitchen sink argument,” said Molly Elkin, the lead attorney for the EMS workers. “Everything they put in the kitchen sink he shoved down the drain.”

The suit had more than 2,500 first responders, who claimed the city never paid them for 15 minutes prior to their tours used to prep their equipment, as well as the 15 minutes after every shift to re-stock their ambulances and speak with the next tour — even though the half-hour was noted in a time-keeping system, known as CityTime.

A federal jury sided of the workforce in 2019, but the city’s appeal alleged the jury had a “complete absence of evidence supporting” their verdict.

The judge poo-pooed that argument.

“I see nothing in the record that would indicate that the jury acted in a manifestly unreasonable way, or that there is a complete absence of evidence supporting the verdict for Plaintiffs such that I must take the extraordinary step of overruling their judgment and credibility determinations,” Broderick wrote.

City lawyers have 30 days to hand over the $17 million to the law firm representing the FDNY EMTs and paramedics — or appeal the decision to a higher court.

The city Law Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I think they have zero grounds for any kind of viable appeal,” Elkin said. “They got nothing. All they’re going to do if they appeal is waste taxpayer money.”

©2021 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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