Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - January 13, 2015
January 13, 2015 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #7

Steven Rupert v. Manatee County Sheriff's Office, workers' compensation claim; OJCC#14001884DBB


Contact and/or Presenter Information
Raymond Carter, Risk Manager, extension 3750

Action Requested
Motion to approve the settlement of the entire claim for $140,000, inclusive of attorney fees, and to authorize the County Attorney or his designee to execute all documentation necessary to effect the settlement, in the workers' compensation matter of Steven Rupert v. Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statute, Chapter 440, and Manatee County Ordinance 08-49.

Background Discussion
Steven Rupert was employed as a deputy with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, commencing employment in 2003. He retired on 9/6/13. He is 56 years old. His accident meets the requirements for compensability under the Heart and Lung Act, Florida Statute 112.18.  On 12/6/07 he suffered a myocardial infarction while on the job. His condition stabilized and he was able to return to work for a number of years.

The following is a brief medical history of Steven Rupert.  He underwent a right coronary stent replacement in 2007.  In 2009, he was and continues under the care of a cardiologist, Dr. Rivera, who diagnosed the claimant with coronary artery disease.  A heart catheterization was completed on 5/29/09.  The claimant reached MMI (maximum medical improvement) on 6/8/09 with a 54% permanent impairment rating. A second heart catheterization was done in January 2011.  Mr. Rupert was discharged in stable condition. 

Despite continued treatment, in 2013, the claimant had a nuclear stress test revealing a dramatic change in his ejection fraction to 35%. Ejection fraction is the measurement of the percentage of blood leaving the heart each time it contracts. Dr. Rivera recently opined that Mr. Rupert might require a defibrillator in the future and is capable of sedentary work.

Mr. Rupert retained counsel shortly after he retired.  His attorney filed a Petition for Benefits for permanent total disability. The full value of permanent total benefits is approximately $236,967.00. The Medicare Set Aside (MSA)  is for $107,468.00.  This is a requirement  under the  Medicare Secondary Payer Act.  The total exposure for this claim is approximately $396,350.98.

A mediation conference was held on 5/14/14 and all parties entered into a settlement agreement for $140,000.00 inclusive of attorney fees. This is for a global settlement and includes a general release for $100.00. At that time, the settlement was contingent on approval from CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and the Board of County Commissioners.  Recently, CMS provided an opinion that the claim does not meet the threshold requirement for the MSA.  The parties have agreed to properly establish and administer the MSA by way of an annuity .

It is in the County's best interest to settle this claim due to the exposure for permanent total disability benefits, lifetime medical benefits, and costs of litigation. The County Attorney requests that the Board approve the settlement for $140,000.00 that includes the $100.00 for the general release, and allow the County Attorney or his designee to execute all settlement related documents.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other
This is a County Attorney item.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
Please send a copy of the approved memo to Raymond Carter (raymond.carter@mymanatee.org), Risk Manager.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs
$140,000.00 one time

Attachment:  rupert.pdf