The suit also says that the township then charged him with insurance fraud, and that township employees, again at Harran's direction, harassed the Jerri family, hoping that it would lead Jerri Sr., an outspoken critic of township administration, to resign as chief.
Harran, reached by telephone Friday, said he had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.
The complaint, which runs more than 70 pages, alleges a variety of incidents that the Jerris say demonstrate the friction between the fire company and Harran, including Harran's temporarily shutting down the company twice, first in June 2011 and then in July 2012; his insistence that the company fire a disabled employee; and Harran's failing to share information with the company that he had shared with several other local fire companies.
The friction extended to the Jerris because of Jerri Sr.'s public criticism of township officials, the lawsuit says, which motivated Harran to try to have him removed as chief.
To spur the removal, the suit claims, Harran targeted Jerri Jr., allegedly telling witnesses in November 2011 that Jerri Sr. would have to resign to handle his son's defense, though his son had yet to be charged with a crime.
About a month later, the suit says, Jerri Jr.'s worker's compensation benefits, which he had been collecting after being injured responding to a fire in September 2011, were cut off. The suit claims that Harran ordered an administrator to terminate them.
In March 2012, Jerri Jr. was charged with insurance fraud and theft for the worker's compensation he received while injured. Police said they had found witnesses who said Jerri Jr. suffered his injury while playing hockey.
In July 2012, while the insurance fraud charges were pending, Harran allegedly ordered the fire company to shut down, ultimately forcing Jerri Sr. to resign.
In November 2012, Jerri Jr. was acquitted of the charges.
Contact Chris Palmer at 609-217-8305, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @cs_palmer