On October 1, 2015, the Borough of Bellmawr (Camden County) agreed to pay $32,500 to former EMT who said that the Borough improperly fired him.

In his complaint, Eric Heidrich said that on April 24, 2010, while he was working as an EMT in Deptford Township, an unknown person pointed a handgun at his face.  Heidrich claimed that while he could not return to work in Deptford, he continued to perform his EMT duties in Bellmawr.

Yet, on May 24, 2011 Charles Hannum, Heidrich’s supervisor, allegedly said that he wasn’t fit for duty and sent him home.  Heidrich claims that Hannum came to this conclusion without Heidrich having been examined by a physician.  According to the complaint, Bellmawr fired him on February 26, 2013 and Hannum stated that he was “a liability.”

The case is captioned Heidrich v. Borough of Bellmawr, et al, Camden County Superior Court Docket No. CAM-L-4438-14 and Heidrich’s attorney was Anthony F. DiMento of Cherry Hill.  Case documents are on-line here.

None of Heidrich’s allegations have been proven or disproven in court. Settlement agreements typically state that payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by any of the defendants.  All that is known for sure is that Bellmawr or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Heidrich $32,500 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants’ decision was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases resolve before trial–it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]