After losing his job, a former Director of Fire is suing Jefferson Parish for wrongful termination and for illegally misclassifying his position.

Paul Smith filed suit against Jefferson Parish, Jefferson Parish East Bank Consolidated Special Service Fire Protection District and John F. Young, Jr. on March 1 in federal court in New Orleans.

Smith was hired by Jefferson Parish East Bank Consolidated Special Service Fire Protection District in April 2009. He was terminated on Feb. 4, 2011.

According to the complaint, the Director of Fire is a classified civil service position under Louisiana law. The position is appointed by the parish president with the approval of Jefferson Parish Council. Smith claims the position performs the job duties of a fire chief but deprives the position of the benefits of civil service classification.

Smith states he was terminated without notice and without explanation.

The defendants are accused of violating Smith's civil rights by terminating him without cause in violation of his due process rights and by failing to provide notice and an opportunity to be heard.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for back pay, restoration of all benefits, damages for mental distress and anxiety, front pay, attorneys' fees and punitive damages.

Smith is represented by Louis L. Robein and Christina L. Carroll of Robein, Urann, Spencer, Picard & Cangemi in Metairie. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00488

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