Fifteen current and former firefighters and police officers have filed suit against Pembroke Pines claiming that they were wrongly denied workers’ compensation for health problems suffered on the job. Injuries listed include all types of injures including hypertension and emotional distress.
The lawsuit claims that benefits administrator Gallagher Bassett Services Inc. and more specifically Theodothia King the senior claims administrator denied their disability claims for a variety of injuries. The victims say that Gallagher Bassett “engaged in a scheme to make an across-the- board denial…without reasonable justification.” They claim to have suffered emotional stress because they were unable to access vital medical care.
The attorney for the victims, Theodore Leopold said the claims administrator should have considered the state law before denying any disability claims. Because state law presumes that health problems related to tuberculosis, heart disease and hypertension resulting in partial or total disability or death were accidental and suffered in the line of duty, thus making these workers eligible to be covered under workers compensation.
This suit is taking place because the municipality is refusing to pay or provide the benefits that these workers are entitled to. The mayor and human resources director have directed all calls for comment to the attorney Gregory Coican who is handling the case for the city. He could not be reached and has not responded to two messages left at his office for comment.
This lawsuit has the city of Pembroke Pines up in arms as citizens feel the need to choose a side. There are those who feel that protect and serve means give up everything including your health to collect a small paycheck and serve your community. The other side of that coin is the people who believe that those who do serve and protect should be provided with medical care, counseling and whatever they may need due to illnesses that occur due to the job.