Firefighters Win $700,000 Award

Two firefighters who said they were hired fraudulently by the city were awarded $700,000 by an Orange County jury Monday after a one-month trial.

Tim Murphy and Donald Tully alleged in a lawsuit that they were induced to leave secure jobs to become assistant chiefs in Westminster but were fired soon after that, when the department was disbanded. They sued for loss of income, benefits and punitive damages.

"I think this is an example of the jury system working in the right way," said Browne Greene, spokesman for the firm Greene, Broillet, Taylor, Wheeler & Panish, which represented the men. "The jury found that these firemen were unfairly treated."

The punitive damage phase of the trial will begin today.

Defendants in the lawsuit were Orange County Supervisor Charles V. Smith, former Westminster City Manager Bill Smith, former Councilwoman Charmayne S. Bohman, Mayor Frank Fry and Councilman Tony Lam.

Attorneys for the defendants said they had no comment on the jury's decision Monday.

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