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Workers comp only remedy for police officer bit by K-9 partner

Posted On: Feb. 8, 2016 12:00 AM CST

A negligence suit filed by a police officer who was “attacked and bit” by a trained police dog is barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Act, a state appellate court has ruled.

Alex Rodriguez, a police officer in Middletown, Connecticut, was “subduing and arresting” individuals involved in an altercation in July 2011 when Officer Douglas Clark and his K-9 partner, Niko, arrived at the scene to help, court records show.

Officer Clark left his police cruiser running with a window open, allowing Niko to exit the vehicle, according to records.

Mr. Rodriguez, who has since retired from his career as a police officer, alleged that Niko “nipped” at another officer at the scene before attacking and biting him, causing “a variety of physical injuries” that have “detrimentally affected his mobility and his quality of life,” records show.

He and his wife, Rachel Rodriguez, filed a complaint against Officer Clark, alleging that he was negligent for failing to restrain and control Niko and for his negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and that he was liable for damages, among other claims, according to records.

Officer Clark filed a motion to strike the complaint on the grounds that it was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the state's workers comp act, records show.

The Superior Court in Waterbury, Connecticut, agreed, ruling in favor of Officer Clark in June 2014, which led Mr. Rodriguez to appeal.

However, on Feb. 2, the Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed the lower court's judgment without additional commentary.