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Workers' Compensation - Claim Validity

     Two Massachusetts state statutes grant additional compensation to correctional employees who sustain bodily injury as a result of inmate violence during the course of his duties. “Bodily injury” is defined as that which results in physical injury. A correction officer sued the sheriff, the sheriff’s department, and the state to obtain compensation under the statutes. His symptoms were an accelerated heart rate accompanied by light-headedness and difficulty breathing. The state’s highest court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that while the plaintiff may well have sustained an injury, he failed to show that he had a bodily injury within the meaning of the statutes entitling him to additional compensation. Modica v. Sheriff of Suffolk County, #SJC-12201, 477 Mass. 102, 2017 Mass. Lexis 346.

     An intermediate California appeals court held that apportionment of permanent disability in a workers' compensation case may properly be based on genetics or hereditability. Further, a qualified medical evaluator (QME) in this case properly apportioned an employee's disability when she concluded his disability, i.e., his debilitating neck, arm, hand, and shoulder pain preventing him from performing his job activities, was caused only partially (17 percent) by his work activities as a police officer, and was caused primarily (49 percent) by his genetics. The QME’s combined reports were sufficient as substantial medical evidence to justify apportioning 49 percent of the employee's disability to non-industrial factors, as her diagnosis was based on medical history, a physical examination, and diagnostic studies, and her conclusion was based on published medical studies that were cited in her report, in addition to an adequate medical history and examination. City of Jackson v. WCAB, #Co78706, 2017 Cal. App. Lexis 383.
    A man worked as a volunteer firefighter in one community from 1989-1991, and for a second from 2002-2006. In 2006, he was employed full time as a paid firefighter in the second community. He was then diagnosed with prostate cancer. The California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board ruled that he was entitled, in applying for benefits, to a statutory rebuttable presumption that cancer suffered while employed as a firefighter arises out of the employment. An intermediate California appeals court upheld this result. Marin Community Services v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, #A147582,  2017 Cal. App. Lexis 278.     A man worked for a city park district for years, followed by years as a truck driver for the city's streets and sanitation department. He developed cervical radiculopathy, which was determined to be a work-related injury. He entered into an accommodation agreement with the city and was reassigned to the job of chief timekeeper. He never performed the functions of that job, but instead did various other tasks assigned by his supervisor. After a number of years, a new supervisor gave him job duties that required the use of his injured arm. He had difficulty doing those duies and his position was ultimately eliminated as part of a city-wide reduction in forces. He sued, claiming that he had been targeted for elimination for having exercised his rights under workers' compensation and the Americans with Disabilities Act, (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101. A jury found in his favor on the workers' comp retaliation claim and awarded damages, but the trial judge rejected his ADA claim. A federal appeals court ruled in favor of the city on both claims, finding that neither should have been tried. The plaintiff failed to show causation. There was simply no evidence that the reduction in forces decision-makers even knew about his workers' comp or ADA claims or terminated him in retaliation for them. Hillmann v. City of Chicago, #14-3438, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 15439 (7th Cir.).
     While working for the state Department of Corrections, an officer sustained a knee injury and received workers' compensation benefits, along with assault pay. He later was terminated as medically unfit for duty, and the employer stopped paying assault pay. He sued, seeking a judicial declaration that he was entitled to keep receiving assault pay for as long as he kept receiving workers' compensation. The highest court in Massachusetts ruled that a state employee's right to assault pay ends when his or her employment ends. Assault pay was intended to be a substitute for the use of accrued sick leave. Marchand v. Dep’t of Corr., #SJC-11949, 475 Mass. 1006, 2016 Mass. Lexis 597.
     A county medical records technician suffered a cumulative industrial injury to her neck and right shoulder on the job, requiring surgery and resulting in scarring. The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board awarded her a permanent disability rating of 70 percent. She sought to rebut that, contending that she would have a greater loss of future earnings because the injury rendered her not amenable to rehabilitation. A California intermediate appeals court rejected this argument, finding that she had produced no real evidence that she was incapable of rehabilitation, but only a vocational expert's opinion for determining her diminished future earnings showed a higher rating of disability, but this did not comply with any approved method for rebutting the determination. Contra Costa County v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd., A141046, 240 Cal. App. 4th 746, 193 Cal. Rptr. 3d 7, 2015 Cal. App. Lexis 828.
     A salaried peace officer who suffered injuries to his face and body in the line of duty argued that a state statute providing the maximum indemnity levels under workers' compensation to volunteer peace officers also applied to regularly sworn salaried officers. The California Supreme Court unanimously rejected this argument. The injured officer was entitled to workers' compensation, but not to the maximum indemnity levels of benefits provided to volunteer officers injured on the job. Larkin v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd., #S216986, 2015 Cal. Lexis 8129.
    A guard at a state prison was stabbed eight times by an inmate, suffering 44 percent permanent disability to his neck and psyche. As a result, he accepted a demotion to an entry level computer analyst position in the information technology department of the prison medical unit, giving up his peace officer status. He had trouble in that position, and was told that he was not passing probation, and subsequently committed suicide by shooting himself. An intermediate California appeals court ruled that because the Workers Compensation Appeals Board found that the death had an "industrial cause," it was error to simply award a workers' compensation death benefit to the surviving spouse, since the special death benefit provisions for Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) members who were peace officers were applicable, and there should have been a joint calculation of the workers' compensation and PERS death benefits due to the surviving spouse. Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation v. WCAB, #C078345, 2015 Cal. App. Lexis 638.
     A county sought review of a workers' compensation appeals board order holding that a sheriff's deputy placed on modified duty after injuring his shoulder at work was entitled to receive a shift differential he had previously received before his injury for working nights. A section of the state labor code provided that certain public employees placed on leave because of a disabling on the job injury are guaranteed no loss of salary, including such things as shift differential. An intermediate state appeals court found that this provision only applied to public employees "on leave," and not to an employee who returns to work on modified duty. County of Nevada v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Bd., #C074133, 223 Cal. App. 4th 579, 167 Cal. Rptr. 3d 455 (2014).
     Under California law, a county jail correctional sergeant's off-duty injury, suffered while doing jumping jacks in his home as part of his regular exercise program, arose in the course of his employment. This was the case because a department order required him and others in similar jobs to "maintain themselves in good physical condition so that they can handle the strenuous physical contacts often required of a law enforcement officer," and he was required to periodically engage in training exercises involving physical activity. He and other employees were not given an opportunity to engage in a fitness regime during working hours. The claimant's belief that he was expected to engage in off-duty exercise to retain his physical fitness was objectively reasonable, given these facts. Young v. WCAB, #C075047, 2014 Cal. App. Lexis 562.
     The dependents of a correctional officer killed in a car accident while driving home from work were properly denied workers' compensation benefits. The Workers Compensation Appeals Board properly found that the officer's hold-over shift as watch commander performed after his regular shift did not qualify as extraordinary under the "going and coming " rule and its "special mission" exception. The work could reasonably be found to be routine when it was carried out at the usual location, did not necessitate an extra trip, and was not necessarily more demanding than the employee's usual work. The Board's determination constituted a finding of fact and was supported by substantial evidence.
Lantz v. WCAB, #F065934, 2014 Cal. App. Lexis 431.
      A finding and award by a judge was properly rescinded by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board when the agreed upon medical examiner issued findings that the police officer claimant's left foot condition--plantar fasciitis--was equivalent to a limp with arthritis, which resulted in a 7 percent whole person impairment for purposes of determining permanent disability. An appeals court rejected the arguments by the employer that a rating of impairment by analogy to a different condition is impermissible when (as here) no objective abnormalities are found and the rating is based solely on subjective complaints of pain. The city also argued that a “rating by analogy” is permissible only in complex or extraordinary cases, and that plantar fasciitis is neither. No error had been shown in the medical examiner's assessment. City of Sacramento v. WCAB, #C072944, 222 Cal. App. 4th 1360, 167 Cal. Rptr. 3d 1, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 1078, 79 Cal. Comp. Cases 1. (Certified for publication 2014).
    A salaried police officer in California injured his left foot and heel while on the job. He claimed that the plain language of a state statute entitled industrially injured officers to temporary disability benefits at the maximum rate. An intermediate state appeals court rejected that claim, finding that the statute at issue only appled to volunteer police officers. Larkin v. WCAB, #C065891, 2014 Cal. App. Lexis 78.
     The highest court in New York ruled that, under the state's workers' compensation law, the State Insurance Fund was entitled to a credit against the proceeds a workers' comp claimant received in a civil rights lawsuit settlement against co-employees and her employer for injuries arising from the same incident that was the basis of her workers' comp claim. The incident was her kidnapping, assault and rape by a resident at the secure juvenile detention facility where she worked. Beth V. v. State Office of Children & Family Servs., #202, 2013 N.Y. Lexis 3158, 2013 NY Slip Op 7657.
     A city firefighter suffered an on-the-job injury in 1988. He entered into a settlement agreement with the city under which he would receive lifetime medical expenses and agree to release the city from any further claims for the injury. Later, in 2004, the city decided to stop paying his medical expenses, contending that they were not necessary or reasonable. He sued the city for breach of the settlement agreement, and a jury awarded him $127,500 in damages. The Texas Supreme Court found that the trial court had lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, since the plaintiff had failed to first exhaust his available administrative remedies before suing, as required by statue. He should have presented his claim to the Division of Workers' Compensation. City of Houston v. Rhule, #12-0721, 2013 Tex. Lexis 951.
     The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a lower court acted erroneously in overturning an award of workers' compensation disabilities benefits based on a finding that the officer had established the existence of a mental disability caused by abnormal working conditions, specifically, the death of a mentally ill person who ran in front of his patrol car, apparently in a suicidal act. The disability prevented him from working. Payes v. WCAB (PA State Police), #50 MAP 2011, 2013 Pa. Lexis 2588.
     A former University of California at Davis police officer who used pepper spray on "Occupy" demonstrators at a campus sit-in in 2011 in a highly publicized incident has received a $38,05 workers compensation settlement from the university employer for depression and anxiety he said he suffered from after receiving death threats and other negative reactions based on the publicity. A psychiatric report released by the California Department of Industrial Relations characterized his disability of a damaged psyche as moderate, with no improvement in his condition a year after the incident. John Pike and University of California, California Workers Compensation claim, decision of administrative law judge Harter, Oct. 16, 2013, reported in The Davis Enterprise, Oct. 24, 2013.
     A Utah park ranger experienced pain in his lower back when he momentarily lost and then regained his balance on a boat dock while getting ready to go out on a boating patrol. He was denied workers' compensation benefits on the basis of a determination that the accident that occurred at work may have aggravated his preexisting back condition and that what caused him to slightly lose his balance, an unanticipated wave, was not the legal cause of his injury. The Utah Supreme Court upheld this result. While it ruled that an intermediate appeals court had erroneously applied an "abuse of discretion" legal standard while upholding the denial of benefits, even under a non-deferential legal standard of review, the plaintiff had failed to show that the boat accident instead of his preexisting back condition had caused his injury. Murray v. Utah Labor Comm'n., #20120232, 2013 UT 38, 2013 Utah Lexis 91.
     A firefighter also worked for an auto company, and earned only 11 percent of his income as a firefighter and 89 percent from the auto company. He was injured on the job as a firefighter and applied for workers' compensation benefits. His employing township paid him the maximum weekly wage loss benefits under worker's compensation and he also received benefits under a disability insurance policy provided by the township. The township could have, but did not, reduce its workers' compensation liability by coordinating the workers' comp benefits with his disability benefits. The township sought reimbursement from the Second Injury Fund, which pays a portion of an injured worker's benefits when the employment at which he was injured provided 80 percent or less of his employment income. The basis of the reimbursement request was the firefighter's dual employment and the uncoordinated amount of wage loss benefits. The Michigan Supreme Court held that when the employment in which the injury was suffered provides less than 80 percent of the employee's wages, the fund was only required to reimburse its portion of the coordinated amount of benefits. Such coordination was mandatory, not discretionary and reduced the employer's obligation to pay weekly wage loss benefits as a matter of law. The township improperly did not coordinate its benefits and the fund would not reimburse it for the uncoordinated result. Smitter v. Thornapple Township, #144354, 2013 Mich. Lexis 912.
     Under California law, a worker's psychiatric injury is not compensable for workers' compensation purposes if it was substantially caused by a personnel action—that is, if 35 to 40 percent of the cause is a personnel action. The plaintiff was a supervising probation officer who was the subject of an internal affairs investigation after another officer filed a complaint with the union accusing him of wrongdoing. A psychiatrist appointed as the medical evaluator of his subsequent psychiatric injury found that it was caused in equal thirds by the coworkers' complaint, which was not a personnel action, by the internal investigation, which was a personnel action, and by the plaintiff's feelings of not being supported by his superiors, which it was disputed as to whether it constituted a personnel action.  The Workers Compensation Appeals Board accepted the psychiatrist's opinion that the third factor was not a personnel action, and therefore awarded benefits. An intermediate California appeals court annulled this determination, finding that the psychiatrist had no authority to decide what was or was not a personnel action, so further proceedings were required. County of Sacramento v. WCAB, #C067739, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 311
    A prison guard suffered a heart attack shortly after arriving at work. He later required a triple bypass operation. In a workers' compensation action, the state's Industrial Commission ruled that he failed to successfully prove that the heart attack was an industrial accident. The employee's cardiologist could not say whether the plaque rupture that cause the heart attack was triggered by events before he came to work or after he came to work. Affirming an order denying the employee compensation, the Idaho Supreme Court found that the Commission's factual findings were not "clearly erroneous," and therefore should not be overturned. Henry v. Dept of Corrections, #39039-2011, 2013 Ida. Lexis 31.
     An employee at a state juvenile detention facility suffered an injury to his neck and right shoulder at work while subduing a combative juvenile detainee. A post accident drug test and a follow-up test the next day both were positive for marijuana and he was denied workers' compensation benefits for the injury under a statute that bars them for injured employees impaired by drugs. The Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed, rejecting the argument that the law created an irrebuttable presumption of impairment barring benefits based on a positive drug test. It found that the employee had overcome a rebuttable presumption that he was ineligible for benefits. There was not any evidence that any marijuana in his system was a "major cause" of his injury, or that he was drug impaired at the time of the injury. Hogg v. Oklahoma Cty. Juvenile Bureau, #110890, 2012 OK 107, 2012 Okla. Lexis 115.
      A 71-year-old volunteer firefighter who suffered two injuries on the job while responding to calls was a county employee for purposes of the California workers' compensation statute and entitled to benefits. The court ruled that the local nonprofit firefighting organization he belonged to was a "regularly organized volunteer fire department having official recognition" even though the county had not formally passed a resolution or entered into an agreement accepting liability for workers' compensation claims for its members. County of Kern v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd, #F057718, 2011 Cal. App. Lexis 1357.
    A California appeals court upheld a $1,571,500 award for a former LAPD officer who was medically terminated in violation of the state's Fair Employment Act. Further, the plaintiff was not judicially estopped from pursuing a damage claim because of a 100% total and permanent disability rating he received in a workers' compensation proceeding. The test is whether the plaintiff could perform the essential functions of his current assignment or an available position, and not on the essential functions of a police officer position, the job title the plaintiff held. Cuiellette v. City of Los Angeles, #B224303, 194 Cal. App. 4th 757, 2011 Cal. App. Lexis 477.
     Wisconsin appellate court upholds a finding that a fire captain suffered a compensable injury while playing basketball on active duty at a fire station. The chief testified that the fire department had no formal fitness policy, but rather had an informal fitness program of encouraging personnel to engage in physical fitness activities while on duty. City of Kenosha v. Labor Cmsn. (Leipzig), #2010AP883, 2011 Wisc. App. Lexis 217.
     California appellate court rejects a statutory presumption, and finds that a deputy sheriff's Burkitt's lymphoma was not related to any carcinogens to which he was exposed as an officer. Sameyah v. L. A. Co. Empl. Ret. Assn., #B222290, 2010 Cal.App. Lexis 1971.
     Officer was not entitled to job-related benefits for further damage to a knee that he twice injured while serving high risk warrants. The Compensation Board properly found it was a distinct and unconnected injury. Lowndes Co. Bd. of Cmsnrs. v. Connell, #A10A1213, 2010 Ga. App. Lexis 831.
     Although an Ohio police officer who is seriously injured while commuting to or from work is barred from received comp. benefits, that limitation applies to employees with a fixed place of work, and not to those who have a fluid work environment. Klamert v. City of Cleveland, #93541, 2010 Ohio 443, 2010 Ohio App. Lexis 363 (8th Dist.).
     Illinois rules that injury benefit payments must continue, even if the claimant is fired for misconduct. "... when an employee who is entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits as a result of a work-related injury is later terminated for conduct unrelated to the injury, the employer's obligation to pay TTD workers' compensation benefits continues until the employee's medical condition has stabilized and he has reached maximum medical improvement." Interstate Scaffolding v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Cmsn., #107852, 2010 Ill. Lexis 12.
     Appellate court sustains the denial of compensation benefits to an off-duty housing authority police officer who was shot while acting as a civilian, and not while responding as an officer. Graves v. W.C.A.B. (Philadelphia Housing Auth.), #142 C.D. 2009, 2009 Pa. Commw. Lexis 1541.
     Although there were criminal provisions relating to a false injury claim filed by a N.Y. volunteer firefighter, there was no provision for civil penalties in the law. Giello v. Providence Fire Dist. (W.C. Board), #505115, 2008 NY Slip Op 10098, 2008 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 9819 (3rd Dept.).
     Appellate court denies comp. benefits to an injured D.C. officer, who was assaulted in Maryland while off-duty. The fact the Maryland county has a reciprocal enforcement agreement did not make his injuries duty-incurred. Smallwood v. D.C. Metro. Police Dept., #07-CV-851, 2008 D.C. App. Lexis 396.
     A claimant's earnings from subsequent employment should not be subtracted from a vocational rehabilitation maintenance allowance, because it is not a wage replacement benefit. Medrano v. Workers' Comp. App. Bd., #B202828, 2008 Cal. App. Lexis 1462.
     Florida appeals court upholds a deputy sheriff's workers' comp. claim after he suffered a heart attack while sleeping. The county was unable to overcome a statutory presumption of work-related stress. Punsky v. Clay Co., #1D07-3901, 2008 Fla. App. Lexis 13416 (1st Dist.). .
     Appellate panel upholds a claim brought by a Beverly Hills SWAT officer who broke an ankle while on vacation and training for a scheduled physical fitness test. Tomlin v. Workers' Comp. App. Bd., #B199429, 2008 Cal. App. Lexis 744 (2d Dist.).
     Ninth Circuit holds that a police disability pension plan can deduct the amount of worker's compensation a disabled or injured officer may receive. The offset does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Brown v. City of Los Angeles, #06-0952, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 7650 (9th Cir.)
     An employee who sustained multiple scars on his forehead and eyelid during a work-related auto accident did not sustain "permanent and severe facial disfigurement" under the N.Y. workers' compensation law. Fleming v. Graham, #41, 2008 NY Slip Op. 2502, 2008 N.Y. Lexis 602.
     Oklahoma arbitrator declines to decide whether a terminated firefighter was entitled to workers' compensation benefits, where the bargaining agreement precludes an arbitrator from interpreting or applying external law. City of Tahlequah and IAFF L-4099, FMCS Case #06/512272-7 124 LA (BNA) 1147 (Nicholas, 2007).
     Under Pennsylvania state law an injured volunteer EMT was entitled to an award for lost wages. Although she did not hold a paying outside job, she should receive a pay award of at least equal to the statewide average weekly wage. Bor. of Heidelberg v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd. (Selva), #42-WAP-2006, 2007 Pa. Lexis 1678.
     Connecticut firefighter was not entitled to workers' comp. benefits for a knee injury that occurred while playing in an official basketball game. The game was not firefighter "training." Hardt v. Town of Watertown, #SC 17684, 2007 Conn. Lexis 93 (2007).
     A physician's opinion for purposes of responding to an employee's disability pension form does not determine the outcome of a workers' compensation claim. State ex rel. City of Lancaster, v. Industrial Cmsn. of Ohio, #05AP-1269, 2006 Ohio 6946, 2006 Ohio App. Lexis 6864 (10th App. Dist.). [N/R]
     Pennsylvania appellate court holds that an employee who was killed by a drunk driver while walking on a public sidewalk while reporting to work died in the course of his employment because it was the only route from the parking lot to the gate. Allegheny Ludlum Corp. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, #1022 C.D. 2006, 2006 Pa. Commw. Lexis 679 (2006). [N/R]
     Applying the last injurious exposure rule, the Nevada Supreme Court puts responsibility for a firefighter's disability compensation on the last of his two employers. Employers Ins. Co. of Nevada v. Daniels, #44575, 2006 Nev. Lexis 120, 122 Nev. Adv. Opin. 88 (2006). {N/R}
     California appellate court affirms the rejection of workers' comp. benefits for an off-duty corrections officer that stopped to help at an accident scene he encountered on his way to work. He was not acting as a peace officer at the time and his job duties did not require him to stop to render aid at the time when he was injured. Pettigrew v. W.C.A.B., #C052030, 143 Cal.App.4th 397, 48 Cal.Rptr.3d 922, 2006 Cal. App Lexis 1486 (3d Dist. 2006). {N/R}
     Delaware Supreme Court upholds an award to an off-duty state trooper who was injured playing softball at an event endorsed by the state police. State v. Dalton, #55-2005, 878 A.2d 451, 2005 Del. Lexis 260 (2005). {N/R}
     Appellate court overturns a workers' compensation award because the Board concluded that a police officer's injury, while playing in a basketball game, was covered. Although officer fitness also benefits a city, the game had no connection to his duties or the department's mission. City of Stockton v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (Jenneiahn)., #C050085, 135 Cal.App.4th 1513, 2006 Cal. App. Lexis 95 (3d Dist. 2006). {N/R}
     N.Y. appellate court upholds a compensation claim for an injury suffered during the employee's lunch break. Morales v. Spring Scaffolding, #5760, 2005 NY Slip Op 7479, 802 N.Y.S.2d 41, 2005 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 10789 (App Div. 1st Dept. 2005). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court holds that a death, which was the result of an intentional shooting by a coworker while both were on the job, is compensable under the state's Workers' Compensation Act. Tanks v. Lockheed Martin, #05-60028, 417 F.3d 456, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 14539 (5th Cir. 2005). {N/R}
     N.Y. appellate court upholds the imposition of a penalty against an officer who falsely stated that he had worked for a security firm at the time he claimed a job-related injury. The state's Workers Comp. law disqualifies a claimant who "knowingly makes a false statement or representation as to a material fact." Claim of Jeffrey Amster v. N.Y.C. Sheriff's Office, #95160, 792 N.Y.S.2d 718, 2005 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 3934 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2005). {N/R}
     Although a city required its police officers to enforce the law at any time while in the city limits, an officer's injuries from a vehicle collision on her way to work did not "arise out of employment." Mayor and Aldermen of Savannah v. Stevens, #S03G1536, 2004 Ga. Lexis 474, 2004 WL 1237149 (Ga. 2004). {N/R}
     Connecticut Supreme Court upholds a claim raised by a corrections officer's estate that he contracted HIV and died of AIDS as a result of his suppression of prison altercations. Doe v. Dept. of Correction, #SC 16840, 268 Conn. 753, 2004 Conn. Lexis 191 (2004).[2004 FP Aug]
     Although a former police officer was able to show that he suffered job-stress induced coronary artery disease, he failed to prove this was "peculiar to" his former occupation. In Connecticut, benefits are limited to a "disease peculiar to the occupation in which the employee was engaged and due to causes in excess of the ordinary hazards of employment. Malchik v. Div. of Criminal Justice, #SC17016, 2003 Conn. Lexis 483 (Conn. 2003). {N/R}
     A flight attendant scheduled to work on United Airlines flight 93 that was hijacked on Sep. 11, 2001 is ineligible for workers comp. benefits. Her post-traumatic stress disorder was not triggered while at work. "If we were to accept petitioner's argument, off-duty police officers, firefighters, and others whose jobs are inherently risky could seek compensation benefits when a fellow employee was injured or killed while taking the employee's place ...[and] ... no authority exists to support that position." Stroka v. United Airlines, #A-4274-01, 2003 N.J. Super. Lexis 364 (Unpub. N.J. App. Div. 2003). {N/R}
     Missouri appellate court holds that the family of an off-duty police officer, who was killed while working secondary employment as a security guard, could collect workers comp. benefits from the police dept. Because of the dual employment, the family could choose which employer would be liable. Leach v. Kansas City Bd. of Police Cmsnrs., #WD61913, 118 S.W.3d 646, 2003 Mo. App. Lexis 1743 (2003). {N/R}
     Arizona Industrial Cmsn. approves worker's comp. benefits for employees who suffer a reaction to a smallpox vaccination. "Entitlement to Workers' Compensation for Workers Receiving the Smallpox Vaccination in Arizona." (Feb. 20, 2003). {N/R}
     LAPD officer sufficiently proved that his multiple sclerosis was worsened by job-related exposure to heat, which was aggravated by wearing an all-black uniform. Comp. claim allowed by an appellate court. Smith v. City of Los Angeles, #B153137, 67 Cal. Comp. Cas 715, 2002 Cal. Wrk. Comp. Lexis 1369 (2nd App. Dist. 2002). {N/R}
     Virginia's Workers' Compensation Commission affirms an award to a firefighter for job-related benefits even though the claimant had a family history of heart disease, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, smoked cigarettes and was obese. Bispo v. Metro. Wash. Airport Auth., VWC #198-70-94, 2003 VA Wrk. Comp. Lexis 541 (VWCC 2003). {N/R}
     New York Workers' Comp. Board finds that a corrections officer was entitled to benefits for depression after he was to exposed potential blood borne pathogens after he cut his hand. In re Elmira Corr. and Rec. Center, #9970-7141, 2001 NYWCLR (LRP) Lexis 335 (NYWCB 2001). {N/R}
     Off-duty police officer, injured while assisting at the site of a vehicle accident was entitled to workers' comp benefits. Spieler v. Village of Bel-Nor, #ED79132, 62 S.W.2d 457, 2002 Mo. App. Lexis 1769 (Mo. App. 2001). {N/R}
    California appeals court denied a stress claim resulting from a reduction in force demotion. Injuries caused by "a lawful, nondiscriminatory, good faith personnel action" are not compensable under the state's workers' comp. laws. City of Oakland v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, #A095800, 02 C.D.O.S. 5208, 2002 Cal. App. Lexis 4227 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2002). {N/R}
    Appeals court rejects a comp. claim for psychic injuries resultant from coworker gossip when she had a sexual affair with another married employee. Atascadero Unif. Sch. Dist. v. W.C.A.B., 02 C.D.O.S. 4596, 2002 Cal. App. Lexis 4162 (Cal.App. 2d Dist. 2002). [2002 FP Aug]
     Appeals court rejects an employer's demand that a claimant work out of a tiny home office. Bussa v. W.C.A.B., #1266 C.D. 2000, 777 A.2d 126, 2001 Pa. Commw. Lexis 336. [2001 FP 94]
     Appellate court upholds the workers' comp. claim of a Beverage Control officer who had a heart attack at work, under a heart law covering state troopers. Alabama v. Adams, #2990945, 784 So. 2d 1047, 2000 Ala. Civ. App. Lexis 699. {N/R}.
     Employee who suffered psychological injuries after witnessing an attack on a coworker is not eligible for workers' compensation benefits. The injuries must be caused by the operation of the employer's business. Kmart v. WCAB (Fitzsimmons), #9 E.D. 1999, 561 Pa. 111, 748 A.2d 660, 2000 Pa. Lexis 708. {N/R}
     Colorado holds that a claimant can rely on written reports to assert a claim, and that testimony is unnecessary unless the employer, at a hearing or deposition, requests to cross-examine the professional who authored the written material. Colo. Div. of Workers' Comp. v. Esser, #00SC292, 30 P.3d 189, 2001 Colo. Lexis 461. {N/R}
     Oklahoma allows the W.C. claim of an officer who shot himself at home, while dressing. Moore v. City of Norman, #91,173, 1999 OK 39, 983 P.2d 436, 1999 Okla. Lexis 46. [2000 FP 30-1]
     The survivors of a retired police employee, who had not worked for pay in the year before he was diagnosed with occupational disease, were not entitled to indemnity benefits. Newton v. Fairfax Co. Police Dept., #991124, 259 Va. 801, 529 S.E.2d 794, 2000 Va. Lexis 80. {N/R}
     Police officer who was transferred from motorcycle to patrol duties, for reporting to the city attorney and others that he was subjected to a ticket-writing quota system, exhausted his grievance remedy prior to filing a lawsuit under the Texas whistleblower statute. City of Austin v. Ender, 2000 Tex. App. Lexis 6644, 16 IER Cases (BNA) 1432 (Tex. App. 2000). {N/R}
     City not required, as a W.C. benefit, to provide a new van for a police officer who was shot and permanently crippled. Guntersville (City of) v. Bishop, 728 So.2d 611 (Ala. 1998). Note: states which have required the purchase of a vehicle are AZ, FL, ME, MS and IA; those which have rejected this claim are CO, MD, NY, NC, PA and SC. ND and WV require reimbursement for the price difference between a regular auto and a wheelchair accessible van. [1999 FP 142]
     Ohio appeals court holds a city responsible for compensating an off-duty officer who was injured while arresting a shoplifter, even though the claimant was not in uniform, was paid as a part-time security guard, the outside employment activity was not approved, and the city required moonlighting officers or their employers to carry their own insurance. Cooper v, Dayton, 696 N.E.2d 640, 120 Ohio App.3d 34, 1997 Ohio App. Lexis 2495; cert. den., 1997 Ohio Lexis 2848. [1999 FP 110]
     Illinois appellate court affirms a $900,000 verdict for four private sector employees who were strip-searched by management in hopes of finding $50 in missing funds. Workers Comp. laws are no bar to bring a suit for this kind of conduct. Toothman v. Hardee's, #5-97-1034, 1999 Ill. App. Lexis 279, 304 Ill.App.3d 52, 210 N.E.2d 880. [1999 FP 84-5]
     Oklahoma Supreme Court sustains psychological W.C. claims raised by a woman employee who was raped by her supervisor and also suffered physical injury. Wal-Mart v. Reinholtz, #865,623, 1998 WL 74187 (Okla. 1998). See also a similar holding by the Nevada Supreme Court in Roberts v. State, #28889, 1998 WL 166588 (Nev. 1998). {N/R}
     Overweight officer who injured his knee during off-duty exercise regimen was entitled to W.C. benefits. Lexington- Fayette Urb. Co. Govt. v. Curtis, Unpublished opin., 35 (1735) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 1344 (Ky. 1997). [1998 FP 46]
     California appeals court denies death benefits to the widow of a worker who, while at home, suffered a fatal heart attack after a stressful phone call from his superior. Ralph's v. WCAB, 1997 Cal.App. Lexis 836, 58 Cal.App.4th 647, 68 Cal.Rptr.2d 161. [1998 FP 14]
     Worker who concealed a conviction on his employment application is entitled to an a total disability compensation award for a back injury. The concealment was unrelated to the claim. Falls Church Constr. v. Laider, #962627, 8 (24) Wrk.Cmp. (BNA) 607 (Va. 1997). {N/R}
     City firing range instructors who suffered hearing impairment were not entitled to benefits for an "accident" related injury. Martzloff v. City of N.Y., 655 N.Y.S.2d 43 (A.D. 1997). [1997 FP 174]
     Idaho Supreme Court rejects death benefits for widow of deceased deputy sheriff who was killed while resisting arrest for rape. Kessler v. Payette Co., 129 Idaho 855, 934 P.2d 28, 1997 Ida. Lexis 36. [1997 FP 173]
     Appellate court reverses W.C. award given to the widow of a security officer who killed himself while playing Russian Roulette. Money v. C.D.C., 299 N.J.Super. 434, 691 A.2d 400 (A.D. 1997). [1997 FP 158]
     Alabama supreme court affirms a $500,000 punitive damage award against an employer for retaliation against a worker who had filed a worker's compensation claim. Heil v. Crowley, 659 So.2d 105 (Ala. 1995). [1997 FP 91]
     Estate of a corrections officer, who was killed while driving to a training school, entitled to compensation. Kirk v. State, 465 S.E.2d 301 (N.C. 1995). [1996 FP 94]
     Michigan allows an injured off-duty officer to collect benefits because he was driving a marked unit at the time of the accident. Botke v. Chippewa Co., 533 N.W.2d 7 (Mich. App. 1995). [1996 FP 30-1]
     Corrections officer who was paralyzed from a fall, when hunting while off duty, was entitled to a comp. award because the fall was precipitated by a prior leg injury he received when on duty. Pellerin v. N.Y. Dept. Corrections, 627 N.Y.S.2d 147 (A.D. 1995). [1995 FP 158]
     Appellate court denies W.C. benefits to a police officer who was shot by his wife during his lunch hour, as there was no "nexus" to his employment. Robinson v. Vil. of Catskill, 617 N.Y.S.2d 975 (A.D. 1994). {N/R}
     Corrections officer bitten by an HIV+ inmate entitled to W.C. benefits for tests and preventive treatment. Arkansas Dept. of Correction v. Holybee, 878 S.W.2d 420 (Ark.App. 1994). See also: Jackson Twp. v. WCAB, 594 A.2d 826 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1991). [1995 FP 110]
     Appellate court denies disability benefits to police officer who was shot during a drug raid. Officer was on suspension at that time and had no business participating in enforcement activities. Arkansas State Police v. Davis, 870 S.W.2d 408 (Ark.App. 1994). [1995 FP 78]
     Iowa supreme court holds that carpal tunnel syndrome is an occupational "injury" and not an occupational "disease." It was caused by trauma, not by infection. Noble v. Lamoni Prod., 512 N.W.2d 290 (Iowa 1994). {N/R}
     Ohio Supreme Court upholds award to family of an officer who died of a blood clot caused by prolonged sitting in a police car. Bedford Heights, City of v. France, 67 Ohio St.3d 55, 616 N.E.2d 177 (1993). [1994 FP 109-10]
     Sheriff's dept. employee was not entitled to comp. benefits for a heart condition that manifested while running at the law enforcement academy. Cardiologist testified that running did not cause or aggravate his preexisting heart problems. Owings v. Anderson Co. Sheriff's Dept., 433 S.E.2d 869 (S.C. 1993) {N/R}
     Nevada rejects comp. claim of deputy who was injured while jogging off-duty in compliance with sheriff's dept. mandatory physical maintenance program. Washoe Co. Sheriff's Dept. v. Hunt, 858 P.2d 46 (Nev. 1993). [1994 FP 110]
     Florida appeals court holds a city, not the off-duty employer, liable for comp. benefits due an officer who was injured while escorting a funeral. F.T. Blount Funeral Home v. City of Tampa, 627 So.2d 1272 (Fla.App. 1993). [1994 FP 110]
     Oregon appellate court makes an employer liable for injuries suffered in a nearby restaurant during an authorized lunch period. Pacific Power & Light v. Jacobsen, 121 Or.App. 260, 854 P.2d 999 (1993). [1994 FP 29-30]
     Appellate court upholds employer liability for employees who are injured in a traffic accident while off the premises and during an authorized meal period. Wood P-C v. Superior Ct., 6 Cal.Rptr.2d 924 (App. 1992). [1994 FP 30]
     Legionnaire's Disease is not an occupational illness under Pennsylvania law. May Dept. Stores v. Workmen's Comp. App. Bd., 525 A.2d 33 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1987). {N/R}
     Environmental tobacco smoke is not an occupational disease under the Nevada law. Palmer v. Webb's High Sierra, 838 P.2d 435 (Nev. 1992). {N/R}
     Connecticut Supreme Court denies W.C. benefits to a parttime firefighter who suffered a heart attack during fire training, which prevented him from continuing his unrelated full-time employment. Wislocki v. Town of Prospect, 224 Conn. 479, 619 A.2d 842 (1993). [1993 FP 158]
     City police officer who was injured while working approved secondary employment for the city's housing authority was not their "employee" for claim purposes. Chicago Housing Auth. v. Industrial Cmsn., 608 N.E.2d 385 (Ill.App. 1993). [1993 FP 158-9]
     Off duty officer shot by her child not entitled to W.C. benefits. Banfield v. City of San Antonio, 801 S.W.2d 134 (Tex.App. 1990). See also: Koerner v. Orangetown Police Dept., 68 N.Y.2d 974, 503 N.E.2d 104 (1986). See also: Westberry v. Town of Cape Elizabeth, 492 A.2d 888 (Me. 1985); Luna v. WCAB, 244 Cal.Rptr. 596 (App. 1988); Board of Trustees v. Christy, 269 S.E.2d 33 (Ga.App. 1980). [1992 FP 29-30]
     Officer who suffered a stroke from the medicine he was given to counter dizziness, after blowing his nose on duty, was entitled to benefits. Freil v. WCAB, 277 Cal.Rptr. 627 (App. 1991). See also: Ballard v. WCAB, 3 Cal.3d 832, 478 P.2d 937 (1971). [1992 FP 30]
     Four dispatchers awarded $285,000 for alleged wrist injuries for repetitive work at video display terminals. Palmer v. King Co., Washington, Sup'r. Ct. #90-2-02650-7, 65 Empl. Health Law & Benef. 1024 (1991). [1992 FP 46]
     Firefighter, injured in a competitive "water fight," was not entitled to w.c. benefits. Cary Fire Ptn. Dist. v. Industrial Cmsn., 569 N.E.2d 1338 (Ill.App. 1991). [1992 FP 78]
     Police clerk, injured while taking an agility test for police officer position, was not injured as an "employee" and was not entitled to worker's comp. benefits. Younger v. City & Co. of Denver, 796 P.2d 38 (Colo. App. 1990).
     On-duty employee entitled to compensation for injury received while using the toilet. Maresco v. Rozzi, 556 N.Y.S.2d 731 (A.D. 1990).
     Appellate court reverses worker's comp award to widow. Officer's suicide was not job related; court holds that police, as an occupational group, do not have an "increased risk" of suicide. Harvey v. Raleigh Police Dept., 384 S.E.2d 549 (N.C. App. 1989).
     Firefighter who fell at state training facility could not sue for unsafe conditions; worker's comp law barred recovery. "Employer" includes a training facility operated by another entity. Lima v. State, 74 N.Y.2d 694, 543 N.Y.S.2d 378 (1989).
     Worker's Comp insurance carrier had no duty to inspect training facilities for safety or unreasonable risk. Ramsey v. General Acc. Fire & Life Insur., 545 So.2d 20 (Ala. 1989).
     Family of deputy sheriff who killed self playing "Russian Roulette" while on duty not entitled to workers compensation death benefits. Gibbs v. Orange Co. Sheriff's Dept., 540 N.Y.S.2d 35 (A.D. 1989). Police officer would be entitled to compensation for emotional suffering induced by a superior's alleged homosexual advance; no recovery here, because board disbelieved him. Mancini v. Scotia Police Dept., 530 N.Y.S.2d 284 (A.D. 1988).
     Private employer, not city, liable for comp. benefits due an off-duty police officer, who was injured while performing security duties. Mt. Sinai Hosp. v. City of Miami Beach, 523 So.2d 722 (Fla. App. 1988).
     Police officer injured in accident on way to work was not entitled to benefits. Luna v. WCAB 244 Cal.Rptr. 596 (Cal.App. 1988).
     Car allowance but not uniform allowance included in calculation of average wage for purposes of workers' compensation. Ridgway v. Board of Ford County Cmsnrs., 748 P.2d 891 (Kan. App. 1987).
     California appellate court allows a W.C. claim by an off-duty police officer, who was injured while running to keep fit as a member of the police tactical response unit; regular running was necessary to pass unit's physical fitness tests. Wilson v. WCAB, 196 Cal.App.3d 902 (1987).
     Disabled employee entitled to payment for medically necessary in-home care by unrelated female. Currier v. Hruska, 421 N.W.2d 25 (Neb. 1988).
     Should employee with polio be awarded workers' comp after leg brace gave way at work? Florida Supreme Court to decide. Grimes v. Leon Co. Sch. Bd., 518 So.2d 327 (Fla. App. 1987).
     Police officer not entitled to benefits for injuries suffered while playing basketball during lunch despite dept's physical fitness requirement. Taylor v. WCAB, 1988 Cal.Wrk.Comp. Lexis 552, 199 Cal.App.3d 211, 244 Cal.Rptr. 643 (Cal.App. 1988).
     Firefighter's widow entitled to benefits after his death from heart attack while marching in parade with dept. band. Dineen v. Islip Fire Dist., 522 N.Y.S.2d 377 (A.D. 1987).
     Widow of watchman entitled to workers' comp benefits despite evidence he was intoxicated. Freeman United Coal Mining Co. v. Industrial Cmsn. of Ill., 513 N.E.2d 555 (Ill.App. 1987).
     Widow of firefighter who died in sleep at station house entitled to benefits. Oliver v. City of Albuquerque, 742 P.2d 1055 (N.M. 1987).
     Michigan Supreme Court finds that woman who cared for disabled neighbor under arrangement with state agency was employee for workers' comp purposes. Walker v. Dept. of Social Services, 410 N.W.2d 698 (Mich. 1987).
     Employee arrested and fired for alleged theft can't receive benefits for resulting mental disability. Shubert v. WCAB (C.M. American), 531 A.2d 1189 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1987).
     University instructor entitled to 60% disability for injury but vocational rehabilitation statute did not cover college or professional training. Killen v. Continental Insur. Co., 514 So.2d 711 (La. App. 1987).
     Deputy sheriff who injured knee during "agility" course entitled to benefits if he had reasonable excuse for late filing of claim. Lawton v. County of Durham, 355 S.E.2d 158 (N.C.App. 1987).
     Survivors of security guard who suffered fatal heart attack at work not entitled to workers" comp benefits. Mayeaux v. Weiser Security Services, Inc., 508 So.2d 132 (La. App. 1987).
     Workers' comp benefits available for stress-induced heart disease suffered after employee was criticized at work meeting. McDonough v. Conn. Bank and Trust Co., 204 Conn. 104, 527 A.2d 664 (1987).
     Employee rendered quadriplegic by on-the-job injury entitled to 24-hour home care by nurses at employer's and insurer's expense. Hopson v. Hickman, 357 S.E.2d 280 (Ga. App. 1987).
     Detective, on standby duty, entitled to benefits for injury sustained during softball game. Gonzalez v. WCAB, 230 Cal.Rptr. 649 (Cal.App. 1986).
     Workers' comp claim for physical injury on the job does no bar later action for handicap discrimination against employee for disability resulting from the injury. Reese v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 107 Wash. 2d 563, 731 P.2d 497 (Wash. 1987).
     No recovery for suicide under workers' comp when surviving spouse failed to show that stress that resulted in suicide was job-related. McCoy v. WCAB (McCoy Catering Services, 518 A.2d 883 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1986).
     Depression caused by job transfer directly resulted in suicide; surviving spouse granted workers" comp benefits. SCM Corporation v. WCAB (Shullman), 518 A.2d 887 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1986).
     Slip and fall at work was a new injury -- not a change of condition of earlier injury; failure to timely file a new claim barred recovery of benefits. Board of Supervisors of Henrico County v. Martin, 348 S.E.2d 540 (Va. App. 1986).
     Claim for benefits for heart disease was claim for occupational disease and not accidental injury -- thus not barred by statute of limitations. Sledge v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 497 So.2d 1231 (Fla. App. 1986).
     Injured Delaware employee can't collect twice -- once from his workers" comp claim and again from employer's uninsured motorist policy; state appellate courts differ on this issue. Harris v. New Castle County, 513 A.2d 1307 (Del. 1986).
     Failure to pay workers' compensation benefits, standing alone, does not support federal civil rights damages claim. State v. Farrar, 7 Conn. App. 142, 508 A.2d 46 (1986).
     Job applicant, injured while taking physical agility test, is not an "employee" and is not entitled to comp benefits. Sellers v. City of Abbeville, 458 So.2d 592 (La. App. 1985).
     New York holds that worker killed while committing an on-the-job theft is still entitled to benefits. Richardson v. Fielder Roofing, Inc., 67 N.Y.2d 246, 493 N.E.2d 228 (1986).
     New York disagrees with Florida and New Jersey; off-duty basketball injury should be covered -- public relations benefit. Malan v. Town of Yorktown, 488 N.Y.S.2d 100 (A.D. 1985).
     City liable for injuries to deputy sheriff who was assisting police officers. Winkler v. County of Westchester, 488 N.Y.S.2d 101 (1985).
     Illinois law prevents dual recovery of comp benefits and disability pension payments. Sellard v. Board of Trustees of R.M. Firemen's Pension Fund, 478 N.E.2d 1123 (Ill.App. 1985).
     Volunteer fire chief who suffered heart attack at annual ceremony entitled to benefits. Coburn v. Hewlett Fire Dept., 490 N.Y.S.2d 644 (A.D. 1985).
     Volunteer firefighter's widow must receive death benefits; husband drowned at SCUBA class that was recommended, not required. Loper v. Cascade Twp., 352 N.W.2d 357 (Mich. App. 1984).
     Uniformed officer in collision while returning home did not suffer a work-related compensable injury. Westberry v. Town of Cape Elizabeth, 492 A.2d 888 (Me. 1985).
     City may not deduct workers" comp benefits from disability pension benefits. Bannan v. City of Saginaw, 362 N.W.2d 668 (Mich. 1984).
     City could not sue third party who negligently injured its employee (to recover compensation paid for injury). Barme v. Wood, City of Huntington Park, Intervener, 207 Cal.Rptr. 816, 689 P.2d 446 (1984).
     City employee, injured while assisting a state employee find an address, must claim against the city, not the state. Eagle v. City of St. James, 669 S.W.2d 36 (Mo.App. 1984).
     Governmental entity receiving mutual aid assistance is liable for injuries to employee of governmental entity that sent employee. Leeds v. County of Westchester, 473 N.Y.S.2d 74 (A.D. 1984).
     Officer, shot during "quick draw" horseplay, not entitled to compensation benefits for "isolated" injury. Kotlarich v. Incorporated Vil. of Greenwood Lake, 476 N.Y.S.2d 23 (A.D. 1984).
     Injuries sustained while participating in city basketball league not compensable. City of Tampa v. Jones, 448 So.2d 1150 (Fla. App. 1984).
     Police officer injured in auto accident while returning from court is entitled to benefits. Allen v. Board of Selectmen of Weymouth, 448 N.E.2d 782 (Mass. App. 1983).
     Workers' comp benefits may be deducted from firefighter's death benefits. City of Middletown v. Local 1073 IAFF, 1 Conn. App. 58, 467 A.2d 1258 (1983).
     Employee, assaulted while off premises, but related to employment, entitled to benefits. Strother v. Morrison Cafeteria, 383 So.2d 623.
     Public safety director a "fireman" for purposes of fire-related injuries. City of California City v. Worker's Compensation Appeals Board, 157 Cal.Rptr. 137 (App. 1979).
     Internal department report admissible in compensation death claim. State Compensation Insurance Fund v. City of Colo. Springs, 602 P.2d 881 (Colo. App. 1979).
     Injuries due to travel from parade is duty related. Smith v. Clay Vol. Fire Dept., 400 N.Y.S.2d 590 (A.D. 1977).
     Scope of Employment discussed. Watkins v. City of Wilmington, 221 S.E.2d 910 (N.C. App. 1976).
     Firemen attending classes in school are not "on duty." City of Norwich and Firefighters Local 892, Conn. Board of Mediation and Arbitration, Case #7374-A-122 (1974).
     See also: Disability Rights and Benefits; Injuries to Applicants; Injuries to Employees; Stress-Related Claims


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