Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Monday, January 7, 2013
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Ex-firefighter agrees to $141K worker's comp deal

A 28-year veteran of the Key West Fire Department who retired in 2004 has agreed to a $141,350 settlement for a worker's compensation claim with the city that has left him unable to find full-time work.

Raymond Casamayor, 56, signed a six-page agreement dated Nov. 5 that states he will accept the proposed amount and agrees to drop the dispute.

The City Commission has to approve the settlement before any check is cut, and the item is on the panel's 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting at Old City Hall.

Once approved, the payment is due within seven days, but the out of town attorney hired by the city to handle this case said that the amount is covered by "the excess insurers pretty quickly, probably within 60 days."

That attorney, George Helm III, of Lake Mary, Fla. recommends that the city settle, paying $138,350 to resolve the claim, including all attorneys' fees and costs, plus $3,000 owed to Casamayor's previous attorney.

Casamayor was injured while on the job March 22, 2002, while working as a fire inspector but the paperwork attached to the settlement doesn't say what happened to him.

But the claim Casamayor filed with the state Department of Labor and Employment Security in October 2005 stated that he was receiving weekly "impairment benefits" for Class III hypertension heart disease.

Since the start of his claim, Casamayor has been treated by Dr. Bruce Boros, a Key West cardiologist, according to the memo sent by Helm.

Casamayor has also only worked part-time since he retired from the city, although Helm wrote that the city tried to find him a full-time job, including hiring him as a dispatcher.

"Boros indicated (Casamayor) was not capable of performing this type of work," Helm wrote in the Nov. 7 memo to the City Commission and the mayor.

Casamayor has worked on his own as an independent fire inspector. In 2011, he billed the School District for $8,100 for inspecting buildings, at a rate of $75 per hour, according to School Board records.

The prior year, the schools paid him $6,000 for the same service.

Without a full-time job, Casamayor becomes a candidate for permanent total disability benefits, wrote Helm, which could add up to $120,000 over a life expectancy of 20 years. For the past several years, the city has been spending about $6,000 a year on Casamayor's claim.

"This figure does not include potential complications including stroke," wrote Helm. "All it takes is one catastrophic event and our medical exposure can double or triple."

After a mediation session in June, both sides reached a tentative agreement for the $141,350 settlement.

But at the end of the session, Casamayor wouldn't sign the paperwork because "he wanted to return to Dr. Boros for additional testing," wrote Helm.

Helm at the time suggested that the city prepare to pay as much as $200,000 to settle the case.

If approved, the settlement also bars Casamayor from working for the city again.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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