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A Florida workers compensation judge has ruled against a police officer with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando who wanted to attach hypertension to his injury claim, according to a ruling issued Thursday by the Orlando District office for the state’s Division of Administrative Hearings.
First responder Gerry Realin initially attempted to file a PTSD claim for benefits following the June 12, 2016, shooting that killed 49 people, according to court documents in Gerry Realin v. City of Orlando Police Department/ Employers Mutual Inc. His PTSD claim was rejected in 2016 on the basis of Florida law that states first responders cannot claim a mental injury as a result of events that occur while on the job, as tragedies are deemed within the scope of employment.
Mr. Realin then filed a claim for hypertension, a condition that emerged a month after the shooting.
Judge Neal Pitts denied the hypertension claim Thursday because “the claimant has not proven by the greater weight of the evidence that he suffered a hypertension condition or injury on June 12, 2016, as a result of the Pulse Nightclub incident,” according to court documents.
“I make this finding in part because there was no blood pressure reading taken on June 12, 2016,” the judge’s ruling states.
Entertainment venue operators may have to take a hard look at how they protect their establishments in light of Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, the worst in U.S. history.