City’s workers’ comp sues sheriff’s office for reimbursement of payments

Published 1:54 pm Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Danville’s workers’ comp provider is suing the sheriff’s office for payments it has made to a police officer following an injury he sustained by a sheriff’s deputy.

The Kentucky League of Cities’ Workers’ Compensation Fund filed a lawsuit in Boyle Circuit Court on Dec. 7 against the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Derek Robbins, and Deputy Sheriff Kody Cloud to be reimbursed for payments it has already made to, and is continuing to make to Danville Police Officer Aaron Sparks who was injured by Cloud when he assisted Cloud in apprehending a suspect in April.

The Kentucky Association of Counties Insurance Director Temple Juett, which handles the county’s insurances including workers’ comp, said, “It’s not unusual to see these kinds of subrogation cases.”

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He explained that it’s common, especially concerning workers’ comp issues, for a claim to be covered initially by a person’s insurance, which then works to prove the other party’s insurance is responsible for the payments made.

According to the court record, on Friday, April 24, Cloud was in a vehicle pursuit of a suspect when DPD officers assisted.

“While Officer Sparks and another officer attempted to restrain the suspect’s hands, Cloud repeatedly and negligently struck Officer Sparks with a utility flashlight, causing personal injury to Officer Sparks,” the document states.

The incident was reported in The Advocate-Messenger on April 28 which stated that a Harrodsburg man was arrested on several charges after he fled from law enforcement and crashed into a home on Apache Trail.

According to the news release, the suspect fled the deputy sheriff as he was attempting to make a traffic stop. When the suspect fled, officers with the DPD joined in the pursuit along several streets.

A deputy tried to stop the suspect’s pickup truck with his patrol vehicle, and in doing so the truck became entangled with the patrol vehicle. The suspected allegedly accelerated and dragged the officer’s vehicle until the suspect crashed into the front of a house on Apache Trail.

According to the release, there was a brief struggle as officers got the suspect out of his truck. The suspect resisted arrest by kicking deputies and officers. A DPD officer was taken to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center for a non-life threatening injury sustained during the scuffle.

The lawsuits claims that “… Cloud owed a duty of care to Officer Sparks and the other officers assisting him in arresting the suspect. Cloud breached his duty of care by negligently striking officer Sparks with a utility flashlight.”

It goes on to say, “As a direct and proximate result of such conduct, Officer Sparks suffered personal injuries and consequential damages for which the KLCWCF has paid…”

It also claims that the BCSO and Robbins are liable for Cloud’s conduct and all damages resulting in the incident; and they failed to properly train and supervise Cloud.

The suit claims, “… KLCWCF is entitled to recover from the BCSO and Defendant Robbins, in his official capacity as the Boyle County Sheriff, the value of all payments it has made, and continues to make to or for the benefit of Officer Sparks … plus costs, prejudgment and post-judgment interest at the legal rate and attorney’s fees.