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Tyndall, BFC case appears resolved

(Nov. 12, 2015) Despite a brief hiccup during the settlement, both parties have apparently resolved their differences in the two-year-old, $8 million Zackery Tyndall lawsuit against the Berlin Fire Company.
Tyndall’s attorney, Amy L. Taylor of the Salisbury firm Otway, Russo & Rommel, filed a motion to reopen the case on Oct. 29, saying the parties had agreed to “material terms,” but had not ironed out “non-material terms of the release that were not previously agreed upon.”
U.S. District Court Judge Ellen L. Hollander signed an order granting the motion on the same day.
Last month the Gazette reported that Hollander signed a settlement order, on Oct. 7, effectively ending the suit, which alleged that members of the company tried to force Tyndall out by harassing him. Tyndall, a former EMT employed at the fire company and a volunteer fireman there as well, filed the complaint on Aug. 27, 2013.
On July 16 this year, Hollander rejected a motion, by the fire company, to dismiss the suit outright.
Hollander wrote in the opinion, “Tyndall has produced evidence that Trimble and Simpson—men almost twice his age, and in supervisory positions—subjected him to a prolonged, continuous barrage of derogatory remarks, to which Tyndall repeatedly objected.”
Hollander added, “Considering the facts … a reasonable juror could find that such conduct was deliberate, intentional and outrageous … [and] extreme, beyond any typical workplace offenses or indiscretions, and ‘utterly intolerable in a civilized community.’”
She also added, “To be sure, Tyndall may not succeed in his claim. But, it is not the province of the court to make factual findings or to resolve factual disputes.”
In September, a trial date was set for Jan. 11-22, 2016, at U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Then, following a conference on Oct. 7 presided over by Judge Stephanie Gallagher, the settlement order was signed.
Details of the settlement were not disclosed, but according to the order the action was dismissed and each party was ordered to pay “its own costs unless otherwise agreed.” The order added that if details of the settlement were not fulfilled within 30 days the case could be reopened, leading to the motion to reopen late last month.
Speaking during a phone interview on Monday, attorney James L. Otway said he could not discuss the final details of the settlement, but offered, “The case has been resolved to our satisfaction.”
“There was an issue from the pleadings that has been resolved,” Otway said. “The case, if it’s not closed, should close any day now.”
Otway said he did not anticipate any further actions in the case.
Jo Anna Schmidt, from the Baltimore firm Schmidt, Dailey & O’Neill, L.L.C., responded to an email question on Monday saying she and her clients, the Berlin Fire Company, had no comment.