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A New York appellate court upheld the temporary suspension of benefits for an injured truck driver who failed to disclose his authorship and self-publication of several books while collecting workers compensation benefits.
John Koratzanis was working for U.S. Concrete Inc. as a truck driver in 2017 when he injured his knees, foot and ankle. After his comp claim was accepted, his employer raised the issue of whether he had violated law after making false statements over income he collected as a self-published author of books he allegedly wrote while he was out of work and collecting comp benefits.
A workers compensation law judge found Mr. Koratzanis’ failure to disclose his post-accident publishing activities broke the law, and imposed a mandatory penalty of no compensable lost time from the date of the first post-accident publication to the date of the hearing, but declined to impose a discretionary penalty. His employer appealed.
Both the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board and a state appeals court affirmed, noting that Mr. Koratzanis made no effort to disguise his publishing endeavors, and he was readily forthcoming about his activities when questioned. Given this record, the court said it had no reason to disturb the board’s decision to impose only the mandatory penalty for the designated period.