This Police Officer took a bullet for his Borough (That Bullet Passed Directly Through His Second Chance Body Armor) and he was injured doing his duty as a LEO & now they (The Borough) might want to sue him in order to get his pension money.
I'll see if I can locate the latest update (in print) on this pathetic story.
Before you read this you should know that the residents of Forest Hills are standing SOLIDLY with this Police Officer & against the borough.
Also: a spokesman for the FOP was on TV last night and basically said that the Fraternal Order Of Police was going to unleash the attack dogs if Forest Hills continues w/ any attempt to sue this Law Enforcement Officer.
Suit asks part of settlement shot cop won;
Forest Hills wants share of Limbacher money
By Peggy Conrad, Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
A lawsuit filed by Forest Hills against a wounded former police officer has caused the borough's police association to join the legal battle.
On Friday, the borough filed a petition to intervene in Common Pleas Court, seeking to exercise its rights to part of a settlement that Officer Ed Limbacher received from Second Chance, maker of the failed bulletproof vest he was wearing when he was shot in the line of duty nearly three years ago.
The borough has a right under the state's "equitable subrogation" law to recover money it has paid to an employee for wages and benefits that the employee recovers from a third-party defendant, explained Blaine Lucas, solicitor.
"Certainly, the borough's very sympathetic to the plight that Officer Limbacher was placed in," said Lucas.
Limbacher still has a bullet in his abdomen and is permanently disabled. In his pre-trial statement against Second Chance, he said he has permanent nerve damage and impairment of his leg "to the extent that he cannot run, walk normally or climb and descend stairs in the manner he used to."
His lawsuit against Second Chance, settled out of court in January for an undisclosed amount, claimed medical ex-penses of $84,579 plus $143,181 in future medical expenses. It also claimed he has lost $1.5 million in past and future earnings.
"We believe it was a substantial settlement," said Lucas.
The borough is seeking $737,000 from Limbacher's settlement for "the present value of pension benefit that the borough expects will be paid to Officer Limbacher by the borough's police pension plan," said Lucas.
"We don't understand that, we're appalled by it and we think it's wrong on every level," said Sgt. Ed Hinchey, speaking as grievance and labor chairman of Forest Hills Police Association.
"When Eddie found out about it, he was devastated," said Hinchey, who also was shot in the line of duty and has not yet returned to the force.
The police association has retained Fraternal Order of Police attorneys to fight the action along with Limbacher's private attorney.
"We feel it's in violation of our contract," said Hinchey. "There's just nothing that allows this in our contract; there's no subrogation clause."
Lucas said it's a "long, complicated situation" that requires a detailed explanation.
Forest Hills was required under the Heart and Lung Act to pay Limbacher his full salary while he was on temporary disability. Two-thirds of his salary was paid from workers compensation insurance and the borough had to make up the difference from June 2003 to February 2006 at a net cost of $68,280.
That amount, which the borough is claiming in reimbursement from Limbacher, is not in dispute.
What is contested is "the prospect of paying 100-percent disability pension at the same time he's collecting a settlement for the same lost, projected wages," said Lucas.
In February, the borough terminated Limbacher's Heart and Lung Act wages. In March, he applied for disability pension benefits under the police pension fund, which provides for officers who are permanently disabled to receive 100 percent of their salary until normal retirement age.
In a letter dated Dec. 28, 2005, Forest Hills advised his attorney that the borough's police pension plan "asserts its right to equitable subrogation as to any and all damages recovered by Limbacher ... to the extent such damages relate to sums paid and/or to be paid by the Forest Hills Pension Plan."
Lucas said, "The theory is, if the officer has been paid his full salary and collects a damage award for loss of that salary, he has collected twice."
When Limbacher agreed to the settlement with Second Chance, he expected to receive his full pension, which might have caused him to accept less than he otherwise would have, said Hinchey.
"They're just not being fair to him at all."
Lucas countered that the officer's attorney "was aware the borough was seeking our rights as related to those amounts" a month prior to the settlement.
The situation has been compounded by the fact that Limbacher's is the second of three police disability claims in Forest Hills in recent years, explained Lucas. Another officer took 100 percent disability several years ago.
Hinchey, who was shot in November 2004, also might end up taking a 100-percent disability pension, according to Lucas.
The borough's actuary has termed the situation "an actuarial perfect storm," a conflagration of events "that will have a serious detrimental impact on the health of the pension plan."
"The borough is looking at having to shell out potentially a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year to keep the pension plan afloat," said Lucas.
The other complicating factor is that Limbacher was hurt while working as a part of the state attorney general's drug task force. The attorney general's office stated it would provide potential financial help with costs related to his injury, according to Lucas.
A few weeks ago, however, a letter from the attorney general's office informed the borough it was not going to do so, he said.
Additional costs include overtime of other officers and the borough's obligation to pay health insurance for Limbacher and his wife now that he is on permanent disability.
"Total cost of all these things is over $1 million to the borough," said Lucas.
Forest Hills did not pursue its own lawsuit against Second Chance for a combination of reasons, Lucas said, including officials' hope that Limbacher would return to work and the expected financial assistance from the attorney general's office.
Hinchey said if there was fault in not filing such a lawsuit, the borough should not "lay the burden at the feet of the victim," who Hinchey said is totally dedicated to the town in which he was raised.
Limbacher previously worked in the road department to pay for college and served as an officer in the fire department while on the police force.
"He almost gave his life for the borough. To have the borough turn around and ... take action against him, it's reprehensible. It's wrong."
Hinchey said the action is sending a bad message to the other officers in the department, all of whom are unhappy about the situation.
"Morale is not great, to put it mildly."
Limbacher's attorney has 30 days from April 21 to file an answer to the petition to intervene. The borough will have 30 days to respond to that filing; then, a judge will make a decision.
Attorneys for Limbacher and the police association could not be reached for comment.