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Appeals court removes federal judge from Akron firefighters case
The panel says Judge John Adams has not progressed the case as he should

Tim Rudell
Seiberling federal courthouse in downton Akron
Courtesy of GSA
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U.S. District Judge John Adams will not preside over a part of the Akron firefighters’ lawsuit that has been lingering for a decade. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals removed him from the case Thursday when it upheld the firefighters’ main court victory but ordered a re-trial on an issue of back pay. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.

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In 2004, Akron firefighters claimed city promotion tests were discriminatory. They went to court and won in 2008. The city appealed, and there has been long, and sometimes bitter litigation since. The city asked the appeals court to remove Judge Adams from the case.

The court in Cincinnati says the judge faced parties who have engaged in "petty, scorched-earth litigation tactics. But the discord appears to be, at least in part, the result of the protracted nature of this litigation to which the district judge has contributed greatly."

Firefighters’ attorney Bruce Elfvin
 says a change will mean the new judge may have to"become familiar with what’s gone on in the case up to now. And that may cause a hiccup or two. But I don’t think it will cause anything severe.”

The Appeals Court concluded its ruling with: “This litigation needs to end.” 

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Akron's new fire chief acknowledges a dozen years in court have dented morale
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

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