Employment & Labor Law for Public Safety Agencies

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Injuries to Employees

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Legal Aspects of Training Injuries -- Part One, 2007 (8) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Legal Aspects of Training Injuries -- Part Two, 2007 (9) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.

     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.

     While assigned to fight a wildfire, a female firefighter was injured when a water truck ran over her while she was sleeping at the fire base camp. She sued two fire protection districts and three of their employees for negligence or a dangerous condition on public property. The claims were properly rejected as the defendants were statutorily exempt from liability under California law. Quigley v. Garden Valley, #C079270, 10 Cal. App. 5th 1135 (2017).

     The Kansas Supreme Court has decided that the firefighter’s rule, which limits liability to firefighters for injuries suffered while performing their duties should be extended to police officers in the state. The case involved injuries suffered by a police officer while he tried to assist a male motorist who feel asleep behind the wheel of his car. The court found that the officer could not recover for the motorist’s alleged negligence causing his injuries because he was engaged in the performance of his duties at the time of his injuries for which he was paid and assumes the risk. Apodaca v. Willmore, #111987, 2017 Kan. Lexis 131.

     A sheriff’s deputy was seriously injured during a training exercise conducted at a U.S. Navy military base. The injury occurred when she jumped from the training structure onto a set of mats and landed in a gap between them. She sued the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq., claiming that Navy officers negligently allowed the structure to remain in a dangerous condition and failed to warn her of the dangerous gap between the mats. A federal appeals court ruled that the challenged Navy actions or inactions fell within the FTCA’s “discretionary function exception” and therefore that Congress had not waived sovereign immunity for plaintiff's claim. Dismissal of the lawsuit was upheld as the Navy’s decisions regarding the maintenance of its military bases for use by civilian law enforcement involved policy judgments that Congress sought to shield from tort liability under the FTCA. Wood v. United States, #15-2106, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 106 (4th Cir.).
     A former city police officer claimed that exposure to asbestos during his employment caused his diagnosis of mesothelioma. The officer and his wife sought permission to serve a late notice of claim on the city. The city argued, in opposition, that leave should be denied because N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law 207-c provides the exclusive remedy for the alleged work-related remedies. At issue on appeal was whether a police officer who is entitled to receive benefits under section 207-c for a duty-related injury is barred from bringing a claim against his or her employer under N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law 205-e. The highest court in New York held that section 205-e does not bar a lawsuit by a police officer who suffers a line-of-duty injury caused by the employer’s statutory or regulatory violations when that police officer is employed by a municipality that has elected not to provide coverage pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Law. Diegelman v. City of Buffalo, #168, 2016 NY Slip Op 07817, 2016 N.Y. Lexis 3532.
     An employee of a water district was the victim of a staged mock robbery planned by her co-workers. She had not been told of the plan, handed over the money, ad later received treatment for psychiatric injury. She sued the employer and four co-employees for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a jury awarded her $360,000 in damages. Overturning an order granting a new trial, a California intermediate appeals court acknowledged that the usual rule is that workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment arising out of work, but in this case, the complaint did not concede that the case was within the Workers' Compensation Act. The evidence was able to support a finding that the work was not a contributing cause of the injury, and a theory that they fell within the assault exception to the workers' compensation exclusivity rule. Lee v. West Kern Water Dist., #F070772, 2016 Cal. App. Lexis 985, 81 Cal. Comp. Cases 966.

     Two inmates tried to escape from a state prison and intentionally murdered a guard during the attempt. One of the prisoners had repeatedly escaped from a state juvenile school before entering the prison at age 15, and subsequently made escape attempts in prison. The other prisoner also had previously been found to have been planning an escape attempt. The estate of the deceased guard claimed that prison officials violated his substantive due process rights by failing to protect him against the murder and by having made various decisions to house the two prisoners in the general population, at times allegedly based on negotiations to end hunger strikes. A federal appeals court found that prison officials were properly granted qualified immunity on substantive due process claims. While paperwork was not always completed for discretionary housing decisions for the two prisoners, the warden had the power to move them. The correctional department's policy on warden discretion on inmate housing placement did not shock the conscience, and the warden did not act with deliberate indifference in failing to place the inmates in maximum security or allowing them to hold their prison jobs. Estate of Johnson v. Weber, #14-2383, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 7327 (8th Cir.).
     A South Carolina prison guard was attacked and shot multiple times in his home, with the attack ordered by a an inmate at the prison where he worked, using a contraband cell phone to talk to the shooter. The injured guard and his wife sued a number of cellular phone service providers and owners of cell phone towers in state court, asserting claims for negligence and loss of consortium. The lawsuit was removed to federal court, and claimed that the defendants were aware that their services and towers facilitated prisoners' illegal use of cell phones, creating an unreasonable risk of harm to others, including the plaintiff. A federal appeals court found that the trial court was erroneous in finding that there was federal question of jurisdiction over the claims, as the Federal Communication Act did not completely preempt the state law claims. The case was properly removed to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, but the plaintiffs failed to state a claim as a matter of law, since there was insufficient information about the specifics of what occurred. The plaintiffs did not identify the wireless service provider who carried the alleged call or when the alleged call occurred. "A wireless service provider would likely be unable to determine whether it carried the alleged call without more identifying information." If further investigation revealed new information, the plaintiffs were free to file a new lawsuit, but currently, the complaint "resembles a prohibited fishing expedition rather than a properly pleaded complaint." Johnson v. American Towers, LLC, #13-1872, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 4844 (4th Cir.).
     A correctional officer was injured on the prison grounds when he fell on an allegedly defective concrete step while walking to work from an apartment he rented on the premises. While he received workers' compensation for the injury, he then filed a premises liability lawsuit. Summary judgment for the state was reversed. A factual determination was required as to whether he was acting in the course of his employment at the time of the injury. He presented evidence that he was not required to live on the premises as a condition of employment and the mere fact that he was injured on property owned by his employer did not necessarily bar his personal injury lawsuit.
Wright v. State of California, #A139034, 2015 Cal. App. Lexis 91.
     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.
     A fire department "live burn" training exercise got out of hand. A recruit participating in the exercise became trapped on the third floor of the three-story vacant building being burnt, and died from her injuries. Her surviving family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming that the city had acted with deliberate indifference to the decedent's safety, in violation of substantive due process. Such a claim could not be pursued in the absence of any evidence that the department actually intended to inflict harm on the participating recruits, for which there was no evidence. Slaughter v. Baltimore, #10-2436, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 11482 (4th Cir.).
     A training officer entered the area where a training exercise simulating an arrest was being enacted. He was supposed to fire his weapon into a sandbox, but failed to do that. When he pointed his gun at a prone officer playing the role of the arrestee, the weapon discharged, killing him. His surviving family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit asserting Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims. A federal appeals court found that the plaintiffs had not adequately alleged a Fourth Amendment excessive force claim, merely mentioning the Fourth Amendment without stating how it was violated. The Eighth Amendment claim was also inapplicable as there was no criminal prosecution or "adjudication of guilt" against the dead officer. The court did find that the failure to follow necessary safety precautions could be found to "shock the conscience" in violation of substantive due process. There was no basis for liability claims against the mayor or municipality, however, since the mayor was not involved and there was no showing that the death was caused by an official policy or custom. Due process claims against defendant officers present at the incident, including a supervisor, could proceed, as well as claims against some police defendants not present that day, but who had direct responsibility for the training exercise. Marrero-Rodriguez v. Municipality of San Juan, #11-1195, 677 F.3d 497 (1st Cir. 2012).
     95.1 percent of 10,563 eligible World Trade Center responders have agreed to share in a $712.5 million settlement. It establishes four compensation tiers, based on the severity of injuries they sustained arising from their response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In re World Trade Center Litigation, #1:2021mc00100 (S.D.N.Y.).
     Chapter 13 bankruptcy court refuses to discharge a personal injury claim brought by an off-duty police officer who alleged that the debtor intentionally assaulted her. Woods v. Roberts, #08-15099, 431 B.R. 914, 2010 Bankr. Lexis 257 (Bankr. S.D. Ind.).
     Illinois appellate court denies benefits to a firefighter who sustained a rotator cuff injury when he replaced a hose in a fire truck after returning from a response call. The Illinois Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (820 ILCS 320) limits recovery for firefighters to a "response to what is reasonably believed to be an emergency." Oskroba v. Vil. of Hoffman Estates, #1-09-2634, 2010 Ill. App. Lexis 942 (1st Dist.).
     Divided appellate court panel denies a police officer's application for a line-of-duty disability pension. The claimant alleged a disabling injury during a baton training exercise. Three treating physicians described the claimant as not believable, and one noted a pre-existing neck injury. Kramarski v. Bd. of Tr. of Orland Park Police Pension Fund, #1-09-1557, 2010 Ill App. Lexis 654 (1st. Dist).
     Workers' Comp is the exclusive remedy for jail nurses, who were held hostage by inmates, including one who was shot by a police officer during the recapture of the inmates. Hunt v. CCA, #1D09-1260, 2010 Fla. App. Lexis 6661 (1st Dist.).
     Workers' Comp is the exclusive remedy for a corrections officer who was assaulted by an inmate. Abrams v. Dept. of Reh. & Corr., #2006-04679, 2010-Ohio-1530, 2010 Ohio Misc. Lexis 30 (Ohio Ct. Cl.).
    A city police officer who was accidentally shot by a county sheriff’s deputy during a joint operation is denied recovery in his negligence claim. The plaintiff was effectively a county employee for purposes of the joint operation, and his claim was barred by law. Connery v. County of Albany, #508265, 2010 NY Slip Op 2713, 2010 N. Y. App. Div. Lexis 2634 (3rd Dept.).
     A firefighter who suffered a catastrophic injury during an emergency training exercise was entitled to receive continuing health insurance benefits after he was on line-of-duty disability. The Illinois Public Safety Employee Benefits Act does not differentiate between actual and simulated emergencies; 820 ILCS 320/10(b). The plaintiff was told that a fellow firefighter was in urgent need of rescue and that he should respond as if it were a real emergency. Lemmenes v. Orland Fire Prot. Dist., #1-09-1133, 2010 Ill. App. Lexis 257 and 2010 Ill. App. Lexis 30 (1st Dist.).
     • Editor’s Note: The panel wrote, “Finally, we are aware of the recent majority holding in Gaffney v. Board of Trustees of Orland Fire Prot. Dist., 921 N.E.2d 778 (2009), an opinion issued by the 6th Division of this court. That opinion, issued shortly before the case at bar appears to reach the opposite conclusion. As noted, we believe the requirements of section 10(b) of the Act mandate an analysis of the facts of each case. The facts of the instant case do not lend themselves to the holding reached by the majority in Gaffney and we decline to follow that holding. We note that there was a strongly worded dissent in Gaffney in which the dissenting judge rejects the extremely narrow construction of section 10(b) of the Act …”
     Federal judge rejects a $657.5 million proposed settlement agreement between "Ground Zero" workers and New York City, which would compensate more than 9,000 first-responder claimants with respiratory conditions. The court concluded that the plaintiffs would be inadequately compensated. The amounts would have varied according to the severity of their illnesses and the level of their exposure to contaminants. In Re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, #1:21-mc-100 (S.D.N.Y.).
     Illinois Supreme Court holds that a statute cannot abolish the "Fireman's Rule retroactively. "A retroactive change in the law that imposes a new duty is ... a violation of the due process clause of the Illinois Constitution, and the legislature is without authority to enact such a law even if that is its express intention." In 2004 the Illinois legislature modified the harsh effects of the "Fireman's Rule" and clearly expressed an intent that the statute be given retroactive effect for claims that were pending at the time. 425 ILCS 25/9f (2004). Lazenby v. Mark's Construction, # 107192, 2010 Ill. Lexis 10 (2010).
     Third Circuit affirms a summary judgment for the city in an action brought by a police officer and his spouse, claiming that the city exposed him to dangerous conditions in violation of his due process rights. A governmental employer owes no constitutional obligation to provide its employees with minimum levels of safety and security in the workplace. Additionally, the officer failed to prove that his injuries were caused by a municipal policy or custom. Rodriquez v. City of Philadelphia, #08-4784, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 21929 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).    
     Arbitrator enforces a contract clause that provides that in the case of non-severe injuries, a firefighter “can elect to go to [a city physician] or to the employee’s health care provider.” IAFF L-863 (MacGovern) and City of Newton, Mass., AAA #11390-00247-09 (Daly, 2009).
     Arbitrator reinstates a private sector worker that was accident-prone. Management did not establish that he was careless or disregarded safety rules. However, long periods of absenteeism due to work-related injuries could furnish grounds for termination. Lehigh Specialty Melting and United Steelworkers L-1537-3, 126 LA (BNA) 1422 (Fagan, 2009).
     After statutory immunity was denied, a gun dealer has purportedly paid $487,500 to settle a suit brought by a police officer who was shot by a former employee that had stolen a firearm. Schramm v. Sarco Inc., #MRS-L-2481-04 (Morris Co. NJ Super. 2009); stlmt. rep. in N.J. Law Jour. 6/4/2009.
    Federal court finds that the DEA breached its duty of fair dealing inherent in an implied-in-fact contract with undercover informant SGS-92-X003, known as the "Princess," by "failing to follow its own protocol in sending her to Colombia." In 1995, the informant endured three months in captivity in a windowless, dirt-floor room where she slept on a straw mattress. Damages are to be computed in a separate proceeding. SGS-92-X003 v. U.S., #97-579C, 2009 U.S. Claims Lexis 31 (2009); prior opin. (2007).
     Appellate court rejects a class action lawsuit filed by Chicago police officers that challenged the power of the city to recover the cost of medical expenses and wages paid them from judgments the officers have obtained against the third parties that caused compensable injuries. Edwards v. City of Chicago, #1-07-0741, 2009 Ill. App. Lexis 128 (1st Dist.).
     Arbitrator sustains a grievance that management wrongfully denied paid leave for a duty-incurred injury. Although there was no requirement that firefighters engage in physical fitness activities at the fire station, workouts were allowed and exercise “impacts on a firefighter’s ability to safely perform his or her job,” citing Gray v. City of East Orange, #A-0472-05T50472-05T5, 2007 WL 1373216 (Unpub. N.J. App. Div.). IAFF L-863 and City of Newton, AAA #113900005208 (Irvings, 2008).
     Police officer was entitled to payment of his health care premiums pursuant to the IL Safety Employee Benefits Act, after he slipped and fell while checking a residence in response to burglar alarm. It qualified as an "emergency" even though he did not activate his lights or siren, and there is high incidence of false alarms, particularly during a thunderstorm. DeRose v. City of Highland Park, #2-07-0938, 2008 Ill. App. Lexis 1081 (2nd Dist.).
    Appellate panel upholds a claim brought by a Beverly Hills SWAT officer who broke an ankle while on vacation and while training for a scheduled physical fitness test. Tomlin v. Workers' Comp. App. Bd., #B199429, 2008 Cal. App. Lexis 744 (2d Dist.).
     Police officer, who had a history of back problems, was required to become certified to use an ASP retractable baton. He injured his back and underwent surgery. His subsequent suit for due process violations and emotional distress failed to show egregious or outrageous conduct; his physicians owed him no special duty to modify the training. Feirson v. Dist. of Columbia, #05-7188, 506 F.3d 1063, 2007 U.S. App Lexis 25356, 26 IER Cases (BNA) 1454 (D.C. Cir. 2007).
     Federal appeals court rejects a civil rights suit filed by an officer that was disabled from injuries received during an expandable baton training session. The plaintiff claimed his substantive due process rights were violated when the instructor attacked him "with a level of force that exceeded any legitimate training objective." The court noted that more than 1300 officers had been trained and only seven reported significant injuries. Feirson v. Dist. of Columbia, #05-7188, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 25356 (D.C. Cir.).
     New law requires the N.Y. Dept. of Civil Service to log work-related accidents and injuries, the amount of time lost, the types of injuries, and the job titles of injured workers. The bill was supported by the state employee unions; N.Y. Sen. Bill 1710; N.Y. Civil Service Law §7(6) (enacted 7/3/2007). Federal court refuses to dismiss a negligent training claim by an Army base gate security officer who was injured while practicing takedown maneuvers. Costigan v. U.S., #C06-5425, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 51161 (W.D. Wash.).
     A California correctional officer that was injured while quelling a fight between rival prison gangs, was not deprived of his liberty interests under the federal due process clause, even if his superiors orchestrated the fight as he alleged, because he was equipped with pepper spray and a baton that he used to subdue the inmates and quell the fight. O'Dea v. Bunnell, #C052673, 2007 Cal.App. Lexis 837 (3rd Dist.).
     Appellate court upholds a Medical Board's determination that a police officer's seizure disorder was not caused by a line-of-duty injury suffered in 1998. Matter of Canonico v Kelly, #100183/04, 2007 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 3841, 2007 NY Slip Op 02611.
     New Jersey police officers and firefighters may now recover damages from property owners or occupiers for injuries they sustain while responding to an emergency because the state Legislature abolished the "firemens' rule," which prevented firefighters and law enforcement officers from recovering for injuries sustained in emergencies. An officer who sustained head injuries sued the owners of a restaurant, alleging that they were negligent in failing to provide adequate security at the bar. Ruiz v. Mero, #A-28/29-06, 2007 N.J. Lexis 198.
     Federal appeals court rejects a suit filed by search, rescue, and clean-up workers at the World Trade Center site after 9-11. The plaintiffs claimed they were given inadequate lung protection equipment. The appellate panel holds that there was no special relationship between the plaintiffs and defendants. Lombardi v. Whitman, #06-1077, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 8961 (2nd Cir.).
     Seventh Circuit denies recovery to a bailiff that sued the county after a criminal defendant shot him. "[He] was paid to protect judges and the public from the likes of [his attacker]. To the extent this exposed him to a personal risk he took it willingly, in exchange for pay and fringe benefits. ... Neither the text nor the history of the Due Process Clause supports a claim that the governmental employer's duty to provide its employees with a safe working environment is a substantive component of the Due Process Clause. Witkowski v. Milwaukee Co., #06-3627, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 5761 (7th Cir.), citing Collins v. Harker Heights, 503 U.S. 115 (1992).
     Because it is part of a police officer's normal duties to chase suspects in the process of arresting them, a N.Y. appellate court has held that the incident emanated from a risk inherent in the police officer's regular job duties. The officer did not qualify for accidental disability retirement benefits. Pappalardo v. Hevesi, #500823, 2006 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 13607 (3rd Dept. 2006). {N/R}
     Workers at Ground Zero allowed to proceed with air quality claims. In re World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, 21 MC 100, 03 Civ. 00007, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 75020 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). [2006 FP Dec]
     N.Y. Appellate Court rejects a lawsuit against the city because of injuries sustained while wearing rubber boots selected by his superiors. "The function of selecting firefighting equipment is clearly a discretionary governmental function." Amodio v. City of New York, 2006 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 12545 (A.D. 2006). {N/R}
     A police officer who was injured by responding to disturbance at ballroom can sue the owner for inadequate security; the common law fireman's rule was been abrogated by statute. Ruiz v. Rossi, 385 N.J. Super. 382, 897 A.2d 407, 2006 N.J. Super. Lexis 144 (App. 2006). {N/R}
     Wisconsin appellate court holds that a county could not impose subrogation liens on settlements recovered from third parties by sheriff's deputies who were injured in vehicle collisions. Opichka v. Racine Co., #2005AP1807, 2006 Wis. App. Lexis 289 (2006).{N/R}
     Arizona Supreme Court holds that the firefighter's rule did not bar an off-duty firefighter, who volunteered at the scene of an accident, from suing the person whose negligence caused the accident. Espinoza v. Schulenburg, #CV-05-0158-PR, 2006 Ariz. Lexis 27 (2006). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court rejects a suit brought by a blinded officer who was injured during Simunitions practice. The chief had declined to purchase the manufacturer's training gear, and the projectile that injured the plaintiff bypassed the riot helmet he wore. The constitution does not require a government agency to provide a safe workplace. Moore v. Guthrie, #04-1435, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 4171 (10th Cir. 2006). [2006 FP Apr]
     Louisiana appellate court affirms an award to a sheriff's deputy that was injured during an on-duty training accident. In addition to medical expenses, he received $150,000 for pain and suffering. Albert v. Farm Bur. Insur. Co., #05-0352, 2005 La. App. Lexis 2329, 2005 WL 2864786 (2005). {N/R}
     N.Y. appellate court overturns a jury verdict for a police officer who was hit on the head with a metal "mag" flashlight by an unknown fellow officer during an attempted arrest of a suspect. There was no proof that the other officer acted with the requisite intent to violate the law and "the jury verdict appears to have been the result of speculation and conjecture." Warren v City of New York, #2003-01860, 791 N.Y.S.2d 650, 2005 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 2599 (2d Dept. 2005). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court affirms the dismissal of a suit for wrongful death and injuries brought by NYC firefighters and their survivors, claiming that Motorola intentionally sold the FDNY radios that are ineffective in high-rise buildings. Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund was the exclusive remedy of all claimants. Virgilio v. City of New York, #04-1942, 407 F.3d 105, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 7441 (2d Cir. 2005), affirming #03cv10156, 2004 U.S. Dist. Lexis 3636, 2004 WL 433789 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). [2005 FP Jul]
     Utility pays a security officer $1,065,000 to settle her electrocution injury claim; an electric gate keypad caused extensive burns on her left arm and rendered her left hand useless. Eshleman v. PECO Energy Co., Philadelphia Co. Cm. Pleas Ct. (Settlement Feb. 2005). {N/R}
    The "Firemen's Rule" prevents police officers, who were overcome by chemical vapors, from suing the chemical company. Severns v. Concord Chem. Co., #L-5494-03, 373 N.J. Super. 368, 861 A.2d 243, 2004 N.J. Super. Lexis 439 (2004). {N/R}
     Illinois jury finds for the manufacturer in a class action suit challenging the safety of the Crown Victoria "Police Interceptor" four-door sedan. Similar suits are pending in other states. St. Clair Co. Sheriff's Office v. Ford Motor Co. (Ill. 20th Jud. Cir. Ct. 2004). [2005 FP Jan]
     Wisconsin Supreme Court allows a suit by a police officer that was bitten by a dog. The "Firemen's Rule" did not apply to this kind of injury. Cole v. Hubanks, #02-1416, 2004 WI 74, 681 N.W.2d 147, 2004 Wisc. Lexis 437 (2004). [2004 FP Oct]
     West Virginia gun store pays $1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by two Orange, N.J., disabled police officers who were shot by one of twelve guns sold in a "straw" sale. Lemongello v. Will Co., (Unpub., Kanawha Co., WV, Cir. Ct. 2004). {N/R} Press Release.
     The federal Jones Act, which protects seamen, does not apply to a riverboat casino that is securely moored and serves no transportation function. Martin v. Boyd Gaming, #03-30389, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 14099 (5th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     New York's highest court reverses two verdicts won by the widows of slain NYPD officers totaling $1.4 million, and a third case involving an officer killed in crossfire. N.Y. state law offers a wrongful death remedy only under narrowly defined circumstances. Although public employers are obliged to provide a safe workplace, state law was not intended to impose specific requirements to eliminate the special risks of police work. Williams v. City of New York, #13, and McCormick v. City of New York, #56, 2004 N.Y. Lexis 1027 (2004). {N/R}
     Police chief had no duty to prevent an off-duty assault of one officer by another. The adoption of a code of conduct did not impose a duty on the chief of police to protect others from harm. Murdock v. Croughwell, SC#16987, 268 Conn. 559, 2004 Conn. Lexis 165 (2004). [2004 FP Aug]
     Arbitrator finds that a sheriff's deputy timely filed her injury report and was entitled to leave, because it was not until she saw an orthopedic surgeon that she learned that the ailment was caused by her continually using a computer at work. Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office and FOP L-9, 119 LA (BNA) 708, FMCS Case #020814/14642-56 (Imundo, 2004). {N/R}
     California appellate court annuls liability for training injuries. Peace officers assume the risk of injury, under the "firemens' rule." Hamilton v. Martinelli & Assoc., #E031683, 110 Cal.App.4th 1012, 2 Cal.Rptr.3d 168, 2003 Cal. App. Lexis 1114 (4th App. Dist. 2003). [2004 FP Apr]
     New York's highest court has ruled in three consolidated cases that police and law enforcement personnel do not have to prove that their duties involved a "heightened risk" to receive on-the-job injury benefits. "If the Legislature had intended to restrict ... eligibility to employees injured when performing specialized tasks, it easily could have and surely would have written the statute to say so." Theroux v. Reilly; Wagman v. Kapica; James v. Yates Sheriff's Dep't., No. 139-141, 2003 N.Y. Lexis 4029 (2003). {N/R}
     Ninth Circuit refuses to give qualified immunity to Oakland police officers that mistakenly killed an off-duty officer. Whether the shooting was reasonable "depends on disputed issues" and is "best resolved by a jury." Wilkins v. City of Oakland, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 23661 (9th Cir. 2003 ). {N/R}
     In a study of 1,050 Baltimore City Police officers, 78% reported they had been physically assaulted by suspects or civilians, 77% had foot problems, 58% reported headaches, 55% complained of a needlestick injury, 47% reported nausea, 36% reported chest pains, 35% reported chronic back pain, 26% reported shooting someone, 20% reported migraines, 16% reported chronic insomnia and 9% had been assaulted by a coworker. "Work Related Injuries and Psychosomatic Problems Amongst Police Officers," a report at the 2003 National Occupational Injury Research Symposium by Columbia University School of Public Health Prof. Elizabeth Smailes Ph.D. et al., (10/28/2003). {N/R}
     The New Jersey "fireman's rule" does not bar injury claims against the defendants for their negligence in starting or failing to prevent a fire. Roma v. U.S., #02-3820, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 19177 (3d Cir. 2003).
     A federal jury in Los Angeles has awarded $2 million in damages to a retired police officer who was shot in the back by an off-duty deputy sheriff who was trying to disarm the officer's intoxicated son at a wedding reception. Morales v. Co. of Ventura, #2:01cv04121 (C.D.Cal. 2003). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court rejects §1983 claim by the widow of an officer who was slain by a prisoner that had not been searched properly. The deceased knew that no weapon had been confiscated from the arrestee. Wouters v. City of Warren, #01-2642, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 14097 (Unpub. 6th Cir. 2003). [2003 FP Oct]
     Federal appeals court holds that the widow of a diabetic prison employee, who became sick at work, and was fatally injured in a collision while driving home, is not entitled to collect damages from the government. Stockberger v. U.S., #02-3651, 332 F.3d 479, 20 IER Cases (BNA) 8, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 11601 (7th Cir. 2003). [2003 FP Sep]
     New York's highest court allows a suit, brought by an injured firefighter against a building owner, where he showed a connection between code violations and the fire. Giuffrida v. Citibank, #2-48, 2003 N.Y. Lexis 989 (N.Y. 2003). {N/R}
     Louisiana appeals court allows a deputy to sue for her slip-and-fall injuries because officials knew the floor was dangerous when wet, and the sheriff's office was not covered by worker's comp. insurance. Gorton v. Ouachita Parish Police Jury, #35,432-CA, 814 So.2d 95, 2002 La. App. Lexis 920 (La.App. 2002). {N/R}
     Louisiana appellate court holds that a deputy sheriff, who was injured after slipping on a wet terrazzo floor in the Sheriff's Office, was entitled to $451,230 in damages from the Sheriff. Gorton v. Ouachita Parish Police Jury, #35,432-CA, 814 So.2d 95, 2002 La. App. Lexis 920 (La.App. 2d Cir. 2002). {N/R}
     Louisiana affirms an over-million dollar award to a corrections officer who was injured during a baton training exercise. Cole v. State, #01-C-2123, 2002 La. Lexis 2454 (2002). [2002 FP Dec]
     California's "Firefighter's rule", did not automatically bar a police officer's claim for injury from a railway crossing gate, because the "independent cause" exception may apply. Vasquez v. N. County Transit Dist., #01-55326, 292 F.3d 1049, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 11095 (9th Cir. 2002). {N/R}
     A security officer who claimed that he suffered disk bulges, after falling into a pothole on the grounds he was patrolling, was awarded $709,353 by a Los Angeles County Superior Court. Gibson v. Trizec Warner, reported in the Calif. Bar Journal Trial Digest, March 2002. {N/R}
     South Carolina Supreme Court declines to adopt the "Firefighter's rule," a common law doctrine which limits or prevents lawsuits brought by police, fire and corrections officers against persons or businesses that have negligently caused their injury. Minnich v. Med-Waste, #25468, 2002 S.C. Lexis 91 (2002). {N/R}
     New York correctional facility counselor awarded $109,000 for injuries sustained when her chair collapsed. Kwartler v. State of N.Y., #91739 (N.Y.Ct.Cl. 2002). New York jury awards a firefighter $2.3 million against a motorist who struck him while passing a fire truck. The plaintiff suffered a fractured ankle, requiring surgery and six screws. McNamara v. Hittner, #11535/00 (N.Y. Supr. Ct., Richmond Co. 2002). [N/R]
     Louisiana appellate court modifies an award to a lieutenant who was accidentally shot by a deputy. Liability was conceded by the deputy and the sheriff; all claims against the body armor manufacturer were voluntarily dropped. The judgment was reduced to past earning losses of $100,000 and future losses of $180,000. Doss v. Second Chance Body Armor, #34,788-CA, 2001 La. App. Lexis 1910, 794 So. 2d 97 (La.App. 2 Cir., 2001). {N/R}
     FLRA holds that a U.S. Park Police officer, who was injured in a fall from his bicycle while commuting to work and fell on Park Service property is not eligible for medical cost reimbursements or extended leave. Police Assn. of D.C. and Interior Dept., #0-AR-3242, 2001 FLRA Lexis 12, 56 FLRA No. 19(FLRA 2001).
     Police officer who was injured while trying to make a DUI arrest, could not make a valid uninsured motorist claim against his personal insurance company. Kelly v. Toth-Kip, 763 So.2d 355, 1998 Fla. App. Lexis 7529. {N/R}
     Appellate court allows a wrongful death lawsuit against a supervisor who refused to allow a coworker to perform CPR on the dying worker. Barnes v. Dungan, 690 N.Y.S.2d 338, 1999 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 5556. [2000 FP 10]
     A property owner was not liable to a police officer who was hurt when a chain-link fence bent inward as he pursued a suspect. Wedlock v. Troncoso, 712 N.Y.S.2d 328. {N/R}
     California appellate court denies damages to an officer who was injured by an instructor at a privately-operated training program. Public policy, and the “Firefighters' Rule,” prevents a monetary recovery. Pfau v. Kim's Hapkido, # E021751, 74 Cal.App.4th 58, 87 Cal.Rptr.2d 588, 1999 Cal.App. Lexis 743. [1999 FP 156-7]
     New York's highest court affirms a monetary judgment received by a police officer, who sued the city for her injuries, caused by a collision, when her partner ran a red light. Gonzalez v. City of New York, 93 N.Y.2d 539, 715 N.E.2d 489, 1999 N.Y. Lexis 1422. {N/R}
     California appeals court remands $3.25 million verdict for estate of an officer killed in a training action. Worker's comp. prevents recovery against the city, but not the shooting officer. Brassinga v. City of Mountain View, 1998 Cal.App. Lexis 729, 77 Cal.Rptr.2d 660 (1996). [1998 FP 156]
     Colorado Supreme Court rejects damage suit brought by a corrections worker who was taken hostage. Constitution does not guarantee a safe environment for prison employees. Henderson v. Gunther, 931 P.2d 1150, 1997 Colo. Lexis 66. [1997 FP 72]
     N.Y. courts affirm a judgment won by a NYFD firefighter who sued the city for burns caused by inadequate protective clothing. Damages reduced from $1 million to $400,000. Lyall v. City of N.Y., 645 N.Y.S.2d 34, 1996 N.Y. App.Div. Lexis 7197; review den., 34 G.E.R.R. (BNA) 1606. [1997 FP 24]
     Police officer, who was accidentally shot during a training program, wins $3.25 million against city. Brassinga v. City of Mt. View, Santa Clara Co. Super.Ct. #CV744729 (1996). [1997 FP 12] REVERSED - See: Brassinga v. City of Mt. View, 1998 Cal.App. Lexis 729, 98 Cal.Dly.Op.Srv. 6543 [1998 FP 159].
     "Firefighter's Rule" barred suit by a cross certified fire/police officer who was directing traffic at a fire, and was struck by a firefighter's vehicle. Appellate court found plaintiff was acting as a f/f, not a p/o. Wulforst v. Hughes, 628 N.Y.S.2d 165 (A.D. 1995). {N/R}
     California appeals court upholds medical and sick leave claims of an off-duty CHP officer who was injured while practicing for her annual physical fitness test. Burnett v. WCAB, 39 Cal.Rptr.2d 540 (App. 1995). [1995 FP 123-4]
     California appellate court extends "firemens" rule" to a privately employed tow truck operator. Holland v. Crumb, 94 D.A.R. 10727 (App. 7/28/94). {N/R}
     N.Y.C.P.D. officer who slipped and fell recovers a $900,000 settlement from the city, plus a 3/4 disability pension. Phelan v. City of New York, N.Y. Co. Sup. Ct. #19609/89, 9 (6) NJVR&A 41 (1994). [1994 FP 150-1]
     NYC firefighter wins $1 million from his city for his pain and suffering caused by burns which could have been prevented by the issuance of bunker uniforms. Lyall v. City of New York, #22499/86, 9 (2) J. Verd. Rev. 11 (NY Sup. 1993). Note: verdict reduced to $400,000 by an appellate court panel, see 645 N.Y.S.2d 34 (A.D. 1996). [1994 FP 120-1]
     NYFD firefighter, injured in a city-owned building fire, recovers $2 million for municipal/employer negligence. Cotter v. City of New York, Bronx Co. Sup.Ct. No.18151/86, 36 ATLA L.Rptr. 14 (1992). [1993 FP 56-7]
     A public employee cannot claim a work-related injury is a civil rights violation simply because the employer failed to provide a minimum level of worker safety. Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 112 S.Ct. 1061 (1992). [1992 FP 74-5]
     Employee who drank cleaning solvent in a soda pop bottle left in the workplace wins verdict for lost wages and posttraumatic stress disorder. Contributory negligence reduces award. Walsh v. Staten Island Rapid Transit, U.S. Dist. Ct. #C85 Civ 3827 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). [1992 FP 88-9]
     Keyboard operations linked to carpal tunnel syndrome. Lettering Unlimited v. Guy, 582 A.2d 996 (Md. 1990). [1992 FP 151]
     Corrections health worker and spouse recover $5.25 million for HIV infection; inmate escort officers, themselves fearing infection, refused to quell a struggle with a prisoner with AIDS. Doe v. State of New York, 30 (1474) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 1035 (NY Ct.Cl. 1992). [1992 FP 154]
     Sergeant who suffered back injuries when a chair collapsed settles his product liability suit for $1.2 million. Dorsey v. Globe Furniture Co. and Faltless Mfg. Co., Albany Co. N.Y. Sup. Ct. (6/19/91).
     Undercover officer injured by suspect in narcotics stop wins $136,771. Defendant had previously escaped assault charges for shooting two other undercover officers. [Ward] Dohman v. [Riley] Housely III, Hennepin Co., Minn. (5/23/91), as rptd. in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (5/25/91).
     Passenger police officer can sue her partner for negligent driving; compensation laws no bar to recovery. Mitsuuchi v. City of Chicago, 518 N.E.2d 313, 164 Ill.App.3d 815 (1987).
     Police officer who lost leg in bomb explosion recovers $1.75 million against city on inadequate training theory. Pascarella v. City of New York, 516 N.Y.S.2d 579 (Sup. 1987).
     New York renews support for the "firemen's rule'; denies recovery for injuries caused by another's negligence. Santangelo v. State of N.Y., 494 N.Y.S.2d 49 (Ct. Cl. 1985).
     Firefighter's suit against his captain for negligence is upheld; $150,000 in damages awarded. Hanas v. Rasmussen, 484 N.E.2d 63 (Ind.App. 1985).
     Fire dept. must pay $125,000 to volunteer firefighter injured in collision; fire truck operated without lights, siren. Sellersburg Vol. Fire Dept. v. Edwards, 463 N.E.2d 508 (Ind.App. 1984).
     Officer loses suit against chief for injuries suffered while working alone on night patrol in a high crime area. Kirkpatrick v. City of New Orleans, 405 So.2d 562 (La. App. 1982).
     California supreme court affirms harsh result of “firemen's rule”; police officer could not recover damages against citizen. Hubbard v. Boelt, 620 P.2d 156 (Cal. 1980).
     Highway patrolman receives $52,450 for head-on collision injuries. Marsden v. Charles, #18798 Lander, Wyo. (1979).
     Firefighter recovers $100,000 in fall off rig. Fuina v. City of New York, #4178-75 (1979).
     Jury awards firefighter $500,000 for injuries sustained; state receives directed verdict, case appealed. Day v. Mass. Turnpike Authority, Case #182979 (1978).
     Deputy sheriff shot by city police, recovers $1,650,000 for brain damage and loss of eye. Jenkins v. City of Detroit, Wayne Co. Cir. Ct. #17-207-339-CX (1978).
     Department has right to sue third party for medical treatment expense of injured officer. Dept. of Law Enforcement v. Willis, 378 N.E.2d 239 (Ill.App. 1978).
     City has right to sue third party for medical treatment furnished injured employee. City of Buffalo v. Derblick, 410 N.Y.S.2d 529 (Misc. 1978).
     New York court sustains right of firefighters to sue vehicle driver for negligence; collision occurred during emergency run. Donovan v. Rapid Ray's Printing & Copying, 403 N.Y.S.2d 407 (Misc. 1978).
     Florida court adopts firemen's rule to fire and police injuries; no recovery against owner for negligence. Whitten v. Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Auth., 357 So.2d 430 (Fla. App. 1978).
     Illinois Supreme Court denies recovery to injured firefighters; gas station owner excused from liability in spite of statutory violations. Washington v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 361 N.E.2d 282, 66 Ill.2d 103 (1976).
     Contributory negligence discussed. Gerhart v. City of New York, 393 N.Y.S.2d 6 (A.D. 1977).
     Car manufacturer sued by firefighter burned in explosion; design defect in gas tank can impose product liability. Court v. Grzelinski, 363 N.E.2d 12 (Ill.App. 1977).
     Railroad grade crossing recovery. Central of Georgia R.R. Co. v. Schnadig Corp., 228 S.E.2d 165 (Ga. App. 1976).
     Helicopter crew killed en route to car accident. Estates denied recovery under "rescue doctrine'. Maltman et al v. Sauer, 530 P.2d 254 (Wash. 1975).
     See also: Civil Liability; Disability Rights & Benefits; Products Liability; Workers" Compensation; Workplace Violence.

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