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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Aggressor Rule Sometimes Makes Good Sense

In some jurisdictions, the one who initiates an assault is denied workers' compensation benefits. In others, it is not a bar to a claim as in California. One would expect that yet another change will be coming to the law in California. One would think that the conduct of this police officer gives rise to rethinking the concept of compensability. Today's post is shared from

The University of California and the former police officer who pepper-sprayed Occupy UC Davis protesters have reached a workers’ compensation settlement totaling $38,059.

John Pike, 40, of Roseville, suffered depression and anxiety brought on by death threats to him and his family that followed the Nov. 18, 2011, confrontation at an encampment on the Quad.

Administrative Law Judge Harter approved the settlement agreement on Oct. 16.

“This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation,” university spokesman Andy Fell said in an email message. Pike’s Sacramento attorney, Jason Marcus, declined to comment on Wednesday.

Bernie Goldsmith, a Davis attorney supportive of the student protesters, called it “interesting to see a dollars-and-cents compensation for universal revilement.”

“This sends a clear message to the next officer nervously facing off with a group of passive, unarmed students: Go on ahead. Brutalize them. Trample their rights. You will be well taken care of,” Goldsmith said.

The state’s Disability Evaluation Unit determines permanent disability ratings based on doctors’ reports. Richard Lieberman, a Piedmont psychiatrist acting as the agreed-upon expert, rated Pike ’s disability as “moderate,” according to a Jan. 5 psychiatric report released by the State Department of Industrial Relations in response to a public records request.

Pike faced...

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.