EMS worker claims he was fired for not agreeing to classify drunk fans as 'intoxicated' at Eagles game

By Jim Boyle | Aug 29, 2014

A former EMS manager that worked for a company contracted with the Philadelphia

Eagles claims in a federal suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that he was terminated because he refused to go along with a plan to automatically classify drunk fans at a January 2014 playoff game as intoxicated, a violation of Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols.

William Carey, of Oxford, Pa., claims that his firing was in retaliation for his refusal and violated the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law. He also claims that his employer, National Event Services, Inc., did not properly compensate him for overtime hours, a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law. He also accuses the Eagles for interfering with the relationship between his employer.

According to the suit, Carey had been promoted to EMS manager by NES in 2008, earning a full-time salary. As manager, he began analyzing and repairing some of the operational deficiencies in his department left by his predecessor, the complaint says. This work, along with his duties to work at outside events on nights and weekends exceeded the 40 hour work week, but Carey claims that NES never compensated for the overtime.

Those outside events included a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles that had NES supply emergency medical services personnel for football games at Lincoln Financial Field. According to the suit, Carey was serving as the EMS manager for the Eagles' Jan. 4, 2014 playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, where he coordinated all medical personnel.

Before the start of the game, Eagles security personnel, employed by separate companies that were not connected to NES, approached Carey and demanded him to follow a policy throughout the game that would classify any drunken fans as "intoxicated." According to the suit, using this classification would turn the patrons into medical patients and allow EMS workers to automatically transport them out of the stadium and to a nearby hospital.

The claim says this was not only a ploy by Eagles security to abdicate any responsibility for the safety and well-being of the drunk fans, but also a direct violation of law. The Pennsylvania Department of Health requires a patient to give voluntary consent before an ambulance can take him or her to the hospital, unless they are in an altered mental state.

If the patient does not know the time, location and his or her identity, then the medical personnel can classify him or her as intoxicated. It requires interaction with the patient and cannot be used as a blanket classification. Carey says his argument was reinforced by the Eagles' on-site physician, Dr. Kenneth Lavelle, who allegedly told the security personnel that he did not want to overload local hospitals and waste their own ambulances with drunk fans that were not intoxicated.

The complaint says that the security personnel were not happy with the decision, but the game continued without any problems. According to the suit, the incident did not come up again until he was called into the office by NES' chief operating officer Carl Monzo on March 11, 2014, who told Carey that the Eagles did not want him to return to Lincoln Financial Field as an EMS manager, describing Carey's behavior at the playoff game as "uncooperative."

Monzo explained to Carey that he could not be employed with NES if he could not attend certain events, especially ones held by a major client such as the Philadelphia Eagles. Carey refused to resign, prompting Monzo to fire him with cause, the suit says.

The plaintiff is represented by Arthur Goldman and Shawn Rogers.

The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-05006-MMB.

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