Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - March 7, 2017
March 7, 2017 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #17

Kathy Smith v. Manatee County; workers' compensation claim; OJCC No. 96-008840


Contact and/or Presenter Information

JoAnn Gallo, Senior Adjuster

X 3750

Action Requested
Motion to (1) approve the settlement of the entire claim for $50,906.78,  inclusive of a general release for $100 and $5,906.78 for attorney's fees and costs for benefits secured by the claimant's attorney, and (2) authorize the County Attorney or his designee to execute all documentation necessary to effect the settlement, in the workers' compensation matter of  Kathy Smith v. Manatee County, OJCC No. 96-008840.

Enabling/Regulating Authority

Florida Statutes Chapter 440

Manatee County Ordinance 16-26

Background Discussion

Kathy Smith, the claimant,  was hired on 4/1/86 and worked in the Utilities Department. She retired on 12/31/15. Her date of birth is 7/16/53.  She is represented by counsel.

On 4/25/96, the claimant was a front seat passenger in a County vehicle, when she was in a work-related accident. She injured her neck.  She had two prior accidents; 1/18/89 and 8/4/94.

Treatment:  Ms. Smith's initial treatment was with an urgent care facility and she was later referred to a neurologist. She had surgery, a C4-5 discectomy on 7/10/96. Following her surgery, her course of treatment consisted of physical therapy and medications. She was placed at MMI (maximum medical improvement) on 12/18/96. She was given a 9% PIR (permanent impairment rating) and restrictions of no heavy lifting.  Treatment has been ongoing.

Future exposure:  Medical paid for the last 3 years averages $8,448.46 per year.  Based upon that average and given a 20 year life expectancy, exposure is $168,969.68.  There is also exposure for future litigation expenses.

This claim qualified for the Special Disability Trust Fund (SDTF), Florida Statutes, Section 440.49.  The intent of this statute is to encourage the employment of workers with disabilities and it provides for reimbursement of benefits paid for an occupational injury.  It applies only to notices of claim no later than June 30, 1997.  In the case of Kathy Smith, the claimant had suffered a prior work-related injury to her neck, sustaining a permanent disability.  The pre-existing, permanent condition was aggravated or accelerated as a result of the 4/25/96 accident.  The Fund allowed for a 50% reimbursement of benefits paid, subject to a $10,000 deductible.  SDTF has placed the County on notice that they will reimburse the County 50% of the settlement amount.

The parties have entered into a settlement agreement, without the need for formal mediation, but contingent on County Commission approval.

The recommended settlement breakdown is as follows:
$44,900 settlement
$100.00 general release
$5,906.78 for past attorney fees and costs.
Total = $50,906.78

It is in the County's best interest to settle this claim due to the future exposure.  The County Attorney requests the Board approve the settlement and corresponding stipulation for past attorney fees 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
If  approved, please send a copy of the approved memo to Linda Klasing, Risk Manager, linda.klasing@mymanatee.org.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  k smith.pdf