Exclusive: Fired Bristol Police Officer Wins Workers Compensation Case
Fired Bristol Borough Police Officer Justin Gross has won his workers compensation case against Bristol Borough and will continue to be paid by the borough, a judge ruled last month.
The decision by Workers Compensation Judge Joseph McManus was issued to Borough officials on April 28, according to information obtained by Lower Bucks Source.
McManus ordered the borough to pay Gross weekly compensation backdating to January of 2019, at rate of a little more than $930 “ongoing.” Additionally, the borough was also ordered to pay Gross 10 percent interest on the back pay awarded as of January, 2019 and forward.
According to state law, workers compensation is capped at 66 percent of total weekly earnings, thus the approximate $930 compensation to be paid by the Borough to Gross. The recently terminated officer, according to records obtained by Lower Bucks Source, weekly average earnings was approximately $1,900 with overtimes included.
“As counsel for Officer Gross I am satisfied with the decision of the workers compensation judge. Its good to know Officer Gross will receive ongoing lost wages and benefits”, said Mark J. Kogan of Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C.
The former Bristol police officer refiled the claim once he started to re-experience symptoms of a mental health condition he was treated for after an attempted return to work with the department in a non-contact role with the public.
Additionally, the workers compensation decision mandated the following:
- Bristol Borough was ordered to pay for medical services and or treatment for the injuries incurred when injured on patrol March 8, 2014 inclusive of mental health services.
- Bristol Borough was ordered to pay litigation fees of approximately $4,520.00
- Bristol Borough was ordered to pay Gross’ legal representatives 20 percent of the approved weekly compensation for reasonable and necessary costs of the dispute.
Gross was injured on the job in March of 2014 when a Bristol woman, Stephanie McCleary, rammed his marked police cruiser causing a number of “traumatic injuries.”
According to legal filings, Gross’s injuries included but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injury,
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Disc Herniation,
- Lumbar Disc Protrusion
Gross returned to work on modified duty, according to legal documents, in October of 2017.
The then working officer started to re- experience symptoms of his mental heath condition in January of 2019.
“Interpersonal conflicts” with police and borough officials were the cause cited according to documents obtained by Lower Bucks Source.
Gross left work on January 18, never to return, refiling for workers related compensation benefits, due to the exacerbation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
McManus “rejected” the testimony of the psychologist appointed to evaluate Gross for the borough “as not credible or competent” when he opined to medical certainty that treatment he was receiving for his mental health issues was not reasonable, needed, nor was it “effective.”
“The Judge” Kogan said, “found his treatment to be reasonable and necessary.”
Attorney for the Borough, Martin J. Fallon from Delaware Valley Workers Compensation Trust said he found it “unusual” a media outlet would be interested in a workers compensation case and declined to comment further.
In March Lower Bucks Source broke the story about Gross suing the borough, police department and officials alleging work place harassment, wrongful termination, humiliation, and harm to his reputation.
Gross was a Borough officer for approximately seven years. The status of his lawsuit against the Borough named defendants is still pending, according to court documents.
Attempts to reach borough officials for comment for this story were unsuccessful