Login Register Subscribe
Current Issue

Ohio shooting victim should receive TTD for PTSD: Court

Reprints

A former Ohio motel clerk who was shot by a robber should be awarded temporary total disability benefits for his post-traumatic stress disorder, an Ohio appellate court ruled Nov. 26.

Cleveland Cummins was working as a clerk at the Budget Host Town Center Motel in Cincinnati, Ohio, when he was shot in the back during a robbery attempt on Oct. 16, 2006, court records show.

Mr. Cummins received temporary total disability benefits for injuries to his abdomen, colon and liver until his treating physician determined that he reached maximum medical improvement in January 2009, according to records. Eight months later, the physician said Mr. Cummins needed to undergo treatment for the post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered as a result of the shooting. He began treatment in October 2009, records show.

Mr. Cummins stopped showing up for treatment in February 2010 because of “transportation issues,” according to an April 2013 letter from his physician.

When he returned to treatment in March 2013, he complained of impaired sleep and flashbacks of the shooting, among other things, according to records.

Determining a causal relationship between Mr. Cummins' 2006 injury and his psychological condition, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation agreed to pay for his treatment, but denied him temporary total disability benefits, records show.

Both a district hearing officer and a staff hearing officer upheld the Bureau's decision. The staff hearing officer found that the “requirement for temporary total disability compensation can't be satisfied if an injured worker is not employed at the time beginning of the alleged period of disability,” according to records.

When the industrial Commission of Ohio refused his appeal, Mr. Cummins asked Ohio's 10th District Court of Appeals to issue a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to vacate its order denying him temporary total disability benefits, records show.

The case was referred to a magistrate who recommended that a writ be granted and, on Nov. 26, the appellate court adopted the magistrate's findings.

“There is no medical evidence that (Mr. Cummins) was ever able to return to his former position of employment or to any other employment,” the ruling states. “While it is true that he stopped treating with (his physician) for a significant period of time, there is no evidence in the record that he was able to work during that time.”