Posts tagged "1007917"

Modica v. Sheriff of Suffolk County, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-079-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12201   GEORGE MODICA  vs.  SHERIFF OF SUFFOLK COUNTY & others.[1]       Suffolk.     January 5, 2017. – May 15, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Correction Officer.  Words, “Bodily injury.”       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on October 24, 2014.   The case was heard by Douglas H. Wilkins, J., on motions for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Noah A. Winkeller for the plaintiff. Allen H. Forbes, Special Assistant Attorney General, for the defendants.          BUDD, J.  Through G. L. c. 126, § 18A, and G. L. c. 30, § 58, the Legislature has afforded correction officers additional compensation to close the gap between workers’ compensation benefits and an employee’s salary if the employee sustains bodily injury as a result of inmate violence during the course of his or her duties.  The plaintiff, George Modica, a correction officer in the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, sued the defendants — the sheriff of Suffolk County, the Suffolk County sheriff’s department, and the Commonwealth — to obtain compensation under the statutes.  At issue in this case is the meaning of “bodily injury” as the term is used in the two statutes.  We conclude that bodily injury is that which results in physical injury; because the defendant has not suffered such an injury, he does not qualify for compensation under the statute. Background.  The pertinent facts, taken from the record, are undisputed.  As a result of breaking up inmate fights in March and April of 2010, the plaintiff began to experience an accelerated heart rate (sinus tachycardia) accompanied by light-headedness and difficulty breathing. The defendants initially paid workers’ compensation benefits voluntarily but soon after discontinued them.  The plaintiff filed a claim for further workers’ compensation benefits and, insofar as relevant here, the plaintiff underwent two independent medical examinations.  Both doctors concurred that the defendant’s symptoms were a physiological response to stress, that the sinus tachycardia was neither the result nor the cause of any physical harm, and that there was no evidence of structural heart disease.[2] The parties eventually settled the plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim, stipulating that the plaintiff’s injury was a physiological response to his involvement in inmate altercations.  The plaintiff thereafter applied for […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 15, 2017 at 5:26 pm

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