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TN Supreme Court upholds firing of Shelby County firefighter after he threatened to kill 2 men at a political rally

Paul Zachary Moss was fired from the Shelby County Fire Department in 2013 after he pointed a gun at the men during the rally. He appealed the decision.
Credit: Shelby County Fire Department

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A former Shelby County Firefighter who has been fighting his own firing since 2013 saw his termination by the department upheld by the Tennessee Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision published Tuesday. 

Paul Zachary Moss was let go by the Shelby County Fire Department after he got intoxicated and pointed a gun at two men at a political rally in 2013, threatening to kill them. 

Moss was arrested at the scene and pled guilty to one count of aggravated assault. While the charge was later dismissed, he was placed on judicial diversion.

SCFD found Moss had violated two department policies by failing to report his arrest to them, and by pleading guilty to a felony. He attended a meeting with fire department officials to present reasons as to why he shouldn't be disciplined, but was ultimately let go by the department a day later. 

Moss appealed the firing to the Shelby County Civil Service Merit Board, which affirmed the termination.

He then appealed to the Shelby County Chancery Court, which upheld the board's decision.

However, when appealing to the Court of Appeals, that court reversed the Chancery Court's decision, saying Moss didn't receive enough notice of the reason he was fired.

The Tennessee Supreme Court, however, reversed this decision, saying Moss' rights were not violated, and the firing was justified.

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