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This article has been updated.
THURSDAY, NOV. 15 — The city of Lansing, faced with the possibility a lawsuit, will pay thousands of dollars to an unnamed former employee, who city officials said suffered “extensive” injuries while on the job.
The City Council unanimously approved a resolution last week to pay nearly $93,000 in a settlement agreement following an undated worker’s compensation claim. The maneuver completely cleared the city of “any past, present and future liability regarding any alleged injuries/illnesses whatsoever,” records state.
“This is an individual that was injured,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney Joe Abood. “The individual did not file a petition but the injuries were significant enough that redemption was felt to be appropriate. It caps the city’s financial exposure. It takes care of our injured employee. It was acceptable to everyone involved.”
Mayor Andy Schor, among other city officials, recommended the settlement as the best route forward. Details about the incident, including the identity of the potential claimant, were not released to City Pulse. Abood cited a legal requirement to withhold that information to help protect the confidentiality of the former employee.
Abood noted the injuries were extensive enough that the employee, labeled “claimant 2062876-00684,” will not return to the job. At least one councilmember inquired about the specifics in closed session only to also be told it was “confidential” in nature. No further details have since been made available.
Abood emphasized the injury does not necessarily represent any negligence on the city’s behalf. Worker compensation claims, by default, provide benefits to employees who are injured in the course of, or arising from their employment with the city. He also noted Lansing is self-insured for workers’ compensation costs.
The Council approves claims funding each year and all settlements for claims — whether related to potholes, wrongful deaths, workers’ compensation or others — are siphoned from that claims fund, Abood said. The city also has liability insurance coverage up to $16 million per occurrence with a $350,000 deductible, records state.
Records also indicate the city doled out a similar, $90,000 settlement payment earlier this year. Two additional workers’ compensation settlements were also reached last year, totaling to about $125,000, Abood said.