Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - February 26, 2013
REVISED February 26, 2013, Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #8

Richard Murray v. Manatee County Sheriff's Office, OJCC Case #11-016142


Contact and/or Presenter Information
Ray Carter, Risk Manager, 941-745-3750

Action Requested
Motion to authorize the County Attorney's Office, Division of Risk Management, to settle the claim of Richard Murray v. Manatee County Sheriff's Office for the amount of $25,000.00.  This amount includes $100.00 for a General Release.

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

Background Discussion

Richard Murray is 61 years old and was employed as a sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office. He was hired on 4/1/1997. He terminated his employment with the Sheriff’s Office on 12/17/2012. 

Mr. Murray filed claims, for four dates of accident, under the Florida Heart and Lung Bill: 11/5/99, 2/15/10, 9/14/10 and 1/27/12.

The Heart and Lung Bill (F.S. 112.18) is designed to offer added legal protection for police, fireman and correctional officers who suffer with heart disease, high blood pressure or tuberculosis. This is also commonly known as “The Presumption Statute.”   It is presumed that the condition has been suffered in the line of duty unless the contrary can be shown by competent evidence.  This is a higher standard than other claims filed under Workers’ Compensation.

All four claims were denied on the basis that the claimant had pre-existing coronary artery disease at the time of hire. While employed by the Sheriff’s Office he had an angioplasty with stent replacement and open heart surgery. He continues to need ongoing treatment. 

The claimant is represented by Tonya Oliver, Esq. with the firm, Bichler, Kelley, Oliver and Longo, P.A.  Attorney Oliver is well versed in this area of law.  This firm is well-known in Florida for their handling of cases involving the Heart and Lung Bill.  The County's counsel is Daniel DeMay, Esq. Following negotiations, we entered into an agreement for a lump sum settlement in the amount of $25,000.00 inclusive of attorney’s fees and costs. The amount of $100.00, part of the settlement, is for the General Release. This settlement agreement is contingent on the approval of the Board of County Commissioners.    

By settling the claim, we avoid the risk of an unfavorable outcome in front of the Judge of Compensation Claims. An unfavorable outcome would be extremely costly for the County. The exposure for past medical costs would be estimated at $250,000.00.  Future benefits for ongoing medical treatment could run $37,000.00 per year.  This does not include exposure for lost wages. Litigation costs are another consideration.

The County Attorney believes that the settlement is in the best interest of the Board and requests authorization to settle this claim for a total of $25,000.00.  The County Attorney further requests authorization from the Board to allow the County Attorney or his designee to execute all settlement documents.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other
There is no opinion memo submitted on this matter. This is a Workers' Compensation Division/County Attorney's Office Item.

Reviewing Attorney

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

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
$25,000.00 to be paid from fund 5050001300 Self Insurance Fund Workers Compensation.

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs
$25,000 one time payment only

Attachment:  Murray stipulation.pdf
Attachment:  Murray affidavit.pdf
Attachment:  Murray general release.pdf