Show-cause order issued on hearing

September 02, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge yesterday ordered the City of Annapolis to explain why it has failed to schedule a hearing to decide whether an eight-year police veteran is entitled to disability benefits for his injuries.

Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth Jr. ordered the city attorney to appear Sept. 29 with an explanation for why the city Public Safety Disability Retirement Board hasn't held a hearing on Officer William A. Davis' second request for disability benefits.

Officer Davis, 31, was injured in 1989 while trying to subdue a suspect. He was injured again in 1990 when he fell from a chain link fence while pursuing another suspect, said his lawyer, Timothy F. Talbot.

The incidents left Officer Davis without the use of his right thumb, which means he cannot fire his service weapon and cannot meet state certification requirements for police officers, Mr. Talbot said.

The officer has been reassigned to clerical duties in the department's property room.

Mr. Talbot asked for yesterday's ruling, technically a "show cause order," because he said the city didn't comply with Judge Rushworth's previous order to schedule a disability hearing within 120 days of May 2. The 120-day period expired Aug. 30, he said.

"The shocking part of it is they violated a court order, even though they've known that they had to do this for quite some time," he said.

Paul Garvey Goetzke, city attorney, said the city revamped its disability regulations over the summer. A new five-member disability board was appointed Aug. 8. Mr. Goetzke said Officer Davis will have a hearing in the next few weeks. He also said Judge Rushworth's order could have been avoided.

"If Mr. Talbot would have given me the courtesy of calling me to arrange a hearing instead of running to the court to get this order, the hearing would've been held by now," Mr. Goetzke said.

Approval of disability benefits would entitle Officer Davis to 66.6 percent of his current $35,172 salary for the rest of his life.

This is the second time Annapolis will consider Officer Davis' request. On Dec. 23, 1992, a disability board ruled that his injuries were sustained in the line of duty, but that he was not "wholly and permanently disabled," a requirement at the time the case was heard. Judge Rushworth affirmed that decision March 1, 1993.

The Court of Special Appeals reversed the decision Jan. 5, saying the city should apply the rules in effect at the time of the injuries, not the stricter rules adopted in 1991. Those rules were in effect at the time of the first disability hearing.

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