Three Grand Forks firefighters responded this month to a lawsuit alleging they conspired to “injure” their former colleague, Leslie William Cleverly, through defamation and loss of business, among other claims.
The trio’s co-defendants, the City of Grand Forks and former Fire Chief Dale Heriot, have yet to respond as of Thursday, Feb. 25.
Cleverly, who filed his lawsuit with the B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna in January, is seeking damages, legal costs and injunctions against Dep. Fire Chief Rich Piché, Assistant Chief Manfred Bialon and volunteer firefighter Letha Leber, according to court documents.
In his statement of claim, Cleverly alleges that Piché, Bialon and Heriot spread “false and malicious rumours” purporting that he was “a drug dealer” having “an extra-marital affair” while they worked with Cleverly at Grand Forks/Fire Rescue. Cleverly further alleges that Leber emailed his primary employer at the BC Emergency Hospital Service (BCEHS) in a bid to have him fired.
Lawyers for Piché, Bialon and Leber separately denied all of Cleverly’s allegations in responses filed to the court starting in mid-February. The three defendants oppose all of Cleverly’s claims for damages, challenging the plaintiff to prove his case. Lawyers for Piché and Leber asked the court to grant legal costs against Cleverly.
None of Cleverly’s claims have been tested in court.