MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says the city will appeal a judge's ruling that twice-injured police officer Cpl. David Brown is covered by Workers' Compensation. The city will have to pick up the bill. [Read full statement below].
It's been a long recovery process for MPD Motorman Cpl. David Brown and his family. Judge Tracy McCooey ruled Tuesday that Cpl. Brown is eligible to receive Workers' Compensation benefits from the City of Montgomery stemming from double accidents in September 2010.
Cpl. Brown was escorting a funeral processional on motorcycle when a car attempting to leave the processional struck Brown. Minutes later the ambulance escorting Brown to the hospital crashed and overturned.
The city says working a funeral processional is an "off duty" job and because of that Brown was not eligible for nearly $1.6 million in workman's comp to pay medical bills.
In a message sent to the "Pray for Dave Brown Montgomery P.D. Motorman" Facebook group, Brown's family said they were pleased with the ruling because off-duty officers have been granted workers' compensation benefits in Montgomery in the past.
Statement from Todd Brown, brother to Cpl. Brown:
"It should be noted, as the testimony today established, off-duty officers are routinely being awarded worker's compensation benefits in Montgomery. For whatever reason, the city drew the line on funeral escorts. And, we have no ill will towards the city, the Mayor, or David's fellow officers.
We're hopeful that this issue will be resolved completely and hopefully a more comprehensive policy can be put into place which will protect our public servants. Thanks to everyone for their prayers for David and his recovery."
Statement from Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange:
"We want the best for Corporal Brown and his family; and will continue to support him to the fullest extent possible. We are surprised by this ruling and plan to appeal it based on many previous cases when off-duty officers have not been covered by worker's comp.
Our off-duty escort officers have a long-term understanding that they are not covered by worker's comp. The same is true for all off-duty personnel who are hired by churches, private individuals and businesses. The only exception in when off-duty officers respond to criminal activity.
The liability this ruling imposes on the City will cause us to review the policy for all off-duty work performed by officers. The use of public funds to insure privately contracted work is a tremendous burden to our citizens.
The City has covered all of the medical bills in this case except for deductibles. Our health coverage policy has a maximum out-of-pocket major medical expense in any calendar year of $950."
There is a second phase of the trial planned to determine the extent of Cpl. Brown's injuries.
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