Once a prominent union member, now he’s a union target

Steven Miller

For 30 years he represented the Clark County Fire Department as its public information officer.

Now Robert Leinbach is being sued in federal court by the department’s union. The complaint — by firefighter Local 1908 — accuses him of “breach of trust, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and unjust enrichment.”

At issue, according to the filing, is a sum “in excess of $75,000.”

Included in that undefined amount are health-benefit payments that the union now seeks to claw back — saying the money was paid in error — and also attorneys’ fees and court costs.

The complaint was filed in June by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, the union local’s law firm. It argues that medical benefits from the union’s health insurance fund can only go to pay medical-service providers after a former union member’s current employer benefits have been paid.

“On information and belief,” wrote the union’s lawyers, “Leinbach has been eligible for health benefits from his employer, Home Depot, since at least October of 2009.”

Also on “information and belief,” continues the complaint, “Leinbach never attempted to notify the Fund, the Fund’s administrator or his medical providers regarding his eligibility for health benefits arising from his employment at Home Depot.”

Moreover, asserts the complaint, that “failure” by Leinbach to notify the fund was “intentional.”

Leinbach, however, told Nevada Journal Saturday that he’s never worked for Home Depot, and that he had contacted the law firm when he first learned its attorneys wished to speak to him.

Currently, he said, he’s “in the process of gathering documentation from all the medical sources, and all the insurers.”

But, said Leinbach, he doesn’t believe the attorneys ever mentioned to him that they had filed the lawsuit against him alleging the various kinds of wrongdoing.

Notwithstanding the language in the union’s complaint against Leinbach, Local 1908’s attorney, Andrew Brignone, told Nevada Journal that, “We have a good relationship with him.

“We’ve been talking to him from day one. And the fact that there’s a lawsuit there doesn’t mean that there’s any kind of adversarial or hostile relationship.”

The reason the union filed the complaint in federal district court, said Brignone, was “for technical, legal reasons” — that is, “as a placeholder, so that the statute of limitations wouldn’t run on our claim.”

“As I said, this really isn’t an adversarial thing. We’re talking to him. We’re trying to get him information to satisfy his questions. We’re sharing information, and we’ll ultimately work this out.”

According to Brignone, the law firm is now aware that Lienbach didn’t work for Home Depot, but instead for R.C. Willey.

“We got [the original] information from a third party, which … was mistaken. But there isn’t any point in correcting it,” he said, “because there’s no sense in spending money to correct a case since it’s just a placeholder anyway.”

Since the lawsuit was filed, said Brignone, the payment issues are being smoothed out.

“We’re working that out with that [insurance] carrier, and also some of the health care providers as well,” he said, adding that “the amount that is shown in the complaint that we filed is now significantly less. It’s far less than it was stated, because of these money transfers that have gone on since we filed it.”

Leinbach now lives in Utah.

According to his LinkedIn page, for approximately the last 16 months Leinbach has been an on-call, part time bus driver for the Jordan School District in the suburbs of Salt Lake City.

He worked for R.C. Willey from May 2009 to April 2013, says the page, and for the Clark County Fire Department from October 1976 to December 2006. 

Steven Miller

Senior Vice President, Nevada Journal Managing Editor

Steven Miller is senior vice president at NPRI and has been full-time with the Institute since 1997. Steven also serves as managing editor for Nevada Journal, NPRI’s news operation, which is online at nevadajournal.com.

Steven graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Philosophy from Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna). Before joining NPRI, Steven worked as a news reporter in California and Nevada, and a political cartoonist in Nevada, Hawaii and North Carolina. For 10 years he ran a successful commercial illustration studio in New York City, then for five years worked at First Boston Credit Suisse in New York as a technical analyst. After returning to Nevada in 1991, Steven worked as an investigative reporter before joining NPRI.

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