Corrections officer fails to secure benefits for cardiac myocarditis
Case name: Richetti v. Osceola County, 19 FLWCLB 47 (Fla. JCC, Orlando 2012).
Ruling: A Florida judge of compensation claims held that an officer was not entitled to benefits for his cardiac myocarditis.
What it means: In Florida, an employer can rebut the presumption of compensability for correctional officers suffering from heart disease with evidence of a nonindustrial cause of the officer's condition.
Summary: A correctional officer became sick with body aches, fever, and chest congestion. He was diagnosed with viral myocarditis, most likely caused by the coxsackie virus. He said that he worked closely with inmates and that many were sick with flu-like symptoms before he got sick. His doctor's report stated that the officer had two children sick with viral upper respiratory illness two weeks earlier. The officer sought benefits, alleging that he was entitled to the presumption of compensability. The JCC denied compensation to the officer.
The JCC explained that the officer presented no evidence of an occupational cause for his myocarditis. Although the officer's examining cardiologist testified that coxsackie virus is "particularly common" in prison inmates because it is transmitted by coughing, sneezing, and dirty hands, he never expressed an opinion that the officer most likely contracted the coxsackie virus at his job.
An infectious disease specialist testified that contact with the officer's young daughter, who was sick with flu-like symptoms, was the most likely cause. Based on the specialist's testimony, the JCC found that the employer rebutted the statutory presumption of compensability with competent evidence.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
June 11, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications