Cook County Record

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Former Berwyn firefighter sues for defamation and intentional interference with contract

By Joel Brakken | Dec 19, 2013

A former Berwyn firefighter is suing over claims he was defamed by a fellow firefighter, which caused him to lose his job.

John Michael Woods filed a lawsuit Dec. 10 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Ronald Hamilton, citing defamation and intentional interference with contract.

According to the complaint, Woods was a firefighter in the Berwyn Fire Department from  1988 until his 2011 termination.

Prior to his termination, the suit states, he worked as a training officer, but requested to be transferred out of the position and to return to work as a firefighter. His request was granted and the fire lieutenant with the lowest seniority, Hamilton, was assigned to take the training officer job, according to the complaint.

Woods claims Hamilton approached him on June 3, 2011 and said  he was very upset over having to take over the training officer job. Following their conversation, the suit claims Hamilton falsely stated to his superiors that Woods made threatening remarks about harming himself and killing the senior managers at the fire department.

As a result of Hamilton's allegation, Woods asserts he was required to undergo a psychological exam and was fired on Aug. 31, 2011.

Woods is seeking an undisclosed amount of damages, including punitive damages. He is being represented in the case by Peter M. Katsaros, Laura A. Balson and Anita J. Pancholi of Golan & Christie LLP.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2013L013976.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Cook County Courthouse. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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