ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Gov’t disability retirement and workers compensation benefits: Mitchell Metzinger v. Kentucky Retirement Systems, et al. (SC 8/27/2009)

Mitchell Metzinger v. Kentucky Retirement Systems, et al.
2007-SC-000363-DG August 27, 2009
Opinion by Justice Scott. All sitting; all concur.

Metzinger, an electrician employed by the city of Louisville, was
injured on the job. He applied for disability retirement and workers’
compensation benefits and filed a civil suit against the
tortfeasor–Louisville Gas & Electric. As part of a global
settlement, LG&E and the city agreed to purchase an annuity for
Metzinger. Later, when Kentucky Retirement Systems calculated
Metzinger’s monthly disability retirement award, it reduced the award
by the amount on the monthly annuity payment. Metzinger objected, but
the award was upheld by the Board, the circuit court and the Court of
Appeals. On appeal, Kentucky Retirement Systems argued that KRS 61.607
permits it to take into account monthly workers’ compensation benefits
therefore, any payments that were voluntarily exchanged for a right to
payment to monthly workers’ compensation benefits should also be taken
into account.

The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Kentucky Retirement
Systems’ interpretation of the statute was contrary to its plain
language. The Court noted that if the General Assembly has intended to
broaden the scope of the agency’s consideration of workers’
compensation benefits under KRS 61.607, it could have done so.

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