Former Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District chief files federal suit against board, others
KINGMAN – Former Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District Chief Wayne Eder is taking a collection of board members and others, including the City of Kingman and Kingman Fire Department Chief Jake Rhoades, to federal court.
A complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court District of Arizona in April 2019. Named in Eder’s complaint are the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District 1, Jim Bailey, Mike Collins, Erik Berg, Carl Hays, John Bryant, the City of Kingman, Rhoades, Patrick Moore, Lynn Hucker and Tanner Miller.
The complaint alleges wrongful termination, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, respondeat superior, conspiracy, intentional interference with contractual relations and violation of due process.
A jury found Eder guilty of conflict of interest in April for a $1,300 repair of a fire engine at a shop owned by former board member Vic Riccardi, who was on the board at the time.
Eder is alleging wrongful termination against NACFD itself. According to court documents, Eder went on medical leave starting May 15, 2018, and a re-evaluation was scheduled for May 29, 2018. However, during that time, it’s alleged that the board terminated Eder’s contracted employment at an “unauthorized, unsanctioned, and illegal special meeting …” Eder also accuses NACFD of breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of due process.
Named in the alleged defamation count are the NACFD board members named in the suit, Rhoades, Lynn Hucker and Tanner Miller.
“Defendants Jake Rhoades, Lynn Hucker, Tanner Miller and the board defendants made defamatory statement about plaintiff,” reads the court document. “The statements were false, and at the time the statements were made, defendants Jake Rhoades, Lynn Hucker, Tanner Miller and the board knew the statements were false.”
Eder alleges that all of the defendants engaged in conspiracy.
“Defendants, and each of them, conspired and agreed to attempt to accomplish an unlawful plan, which included defaming and wrongfully terminating plaintiff from his employment,” according to documents. “The defendants’ conspiracy was implied by the conduct of the parties involved in the agreement and inferred from the circumstances surround the events alleged herein.”
Rhoades, Hucker, Miller and board defendants are also accused by Eder of intentional interference with contractual relations.
“Defendants Jake Rhoades, Lynn Hucker, Tanner Miller and the board defendants intentionally interfered with the contractual relationship between plaintiff and defendant NACFD by inducing or causing defendant NACFD to breach the contract,” the documents say.
Eder “requests and demands” a trial by jury. He is seeking damages that include general, compensatory and special damages, punitive or exemplary damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and pre-judgement and post-judgement interest.