ORLANDO, Fla. – The Gerry Realin PTSD lawsuit against the City of Orlando was a committee vote away from settlement, but according to the mayor’s office, the city’s Risk Management Committee never voted on the deal.
“This item was brought to the committee for a discussion, but there was no action taken,” Orlando press secretary Cassandra A. Lafser told News 6 Wednesday.
Realin was one of a handful of first responders assigned to remove the 49 victims from the Pulse nightclub massacre.
The committee met to discuss the settlement on Aug. 1, but never acted on the deal.
Realin’s attorney, Paolo Longo, said he received a call from the city’s attorney, Robert Hand, advising him that the deal, which had been completed before a court-appointed mediator weeks ago, was off.
“I was advised late Friday, August 3, that the City of Orlando did not approve the pending settlement of Officer Realin’s case," Longo said in an email. “Due to the sensitivity and nature of the pending litigation, I can not comment any further.“
Although no one will talk about the substance of the settlement, the city made it clear it was in excess of $25,000.
“During the course of any litigation, the city’s risk manager has the authority to approve a settlement agreement up to $25,000," Lafser said. “Anything above this amount must come before the city’s risk management committee for approval of a settlement.“
Sources familiar with the deal told News 6 they were “shocked” it wasn't approved because they felt it was good for everyone involved.
The city appeared to leave the door open for an out-of-court settlement, with an official saying in part, “Discussions will continue throughout the litigation process.”
Realin’s wife, Jessica, said she couldn't comment on the case.
"We just want to move forward,” she said.
Most observers feel the unexpected rejection will send the case to trial.
Because the deal is confidential, the city would not release minutes of the risk management committee meeting.
"Per state law, any minutes of the meeting related to this would be exempt from public record at this time as it is related to open litigation," Lafser said.