Barragan v. City of Miami, Nos. 71662

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtGRIMES; EHRLICH; McDONALD; KOGAN; EHRLICH; McDONALD
Citation14 Fla. L. Weekly 211,545 So.2d 252
Decision Date20 April 1989
Docket Number72572,Nos. 71662
Parties14 Fla. L. Weekly 211, 14 Fla. L. Weekly 366 Paul BARRAGAN, Petitioner, v. CITY OF MIAMI, Respondent. Andrew GIORDANO, Petitioner, v. CITY OF MIAMI, Respondent.

Page 252

545 So.2d 252
14 Fla. L. Weekly 211, 14 Fla. L. Weekly 366
Paul BARRAGAN, Petitioner,
v.
CITY OF MIAMI, Respondent.
Andrew GIORDANO, Petitioner,
v.
CITY OF MIAMI, Respondent.
Nos. 71662, 72572.
Supreme Court of Florida.
April 20, 1989.
Rehearing Denied July 14, 1989.

Joseph C. Segor, Williams & Zientz, and Richard A. Sicking of Kaplan, Sicking & Bloom, P.A., Miami, for petitioners.

Jorge L. Fernandez, City Atty., Martha D. Fornaris, Asst. City Atty., and Jay M. Levy of Hershoff, Levy & Swartz, P.A., Miami, for respondent.

Page 253

GRIMES, Judge.

These cases, which involve the same issue, are consolidated for our consideration. In both cases, the First District Court of Appeal certified the following question as one of great public importance: *

DOES THE EMPLOYER'S REDUCTION OF CLAIMANT'S PENSION BENEFITS, PURSUANT TO CONTRACTUAL PROVISION FOR OFFSET OF WORKER'S COMPENSATION, PERMIT THE DEPUTY'S APPLICATION OF SECTION 440.21, FLORIDA STATUTES, TO AWARD COMPENSATION BENEFITS TO CLAIMANT "AT HIS COMBINED MAXIMUM MONTHLY WAGE"?

The facts of these cases are very similar. Both Barragan and Giordano were Miami police officers who suffered permanent, work-related injuries. In both cases they were granted workers' compensation benefits and disability pension benefits. In both cases the city, in conformity with a city ordinance, reduced the disability pension benefits by the amount of workers' compensation benefits.

The deputy commissioner found Barragan entitled to combined disability pension and workers' compensation benefits up to his average monthly wage. The First District Court of Appeal reversed on the authority of City of Miami v. Knight, 510 So.2d 1069 (Fla. 1st DCA), review denied, 518 So.2d 1276 (Fla.1987). City of Miami v. Barragan, 517 So.2d 99 (Fla. 1st DCA 1987). In Giordano's case the deputy commissioner originally held the offset to be impermissible. The First District Court of Appeal affirmed this ruling without opinion in City of Miami v. Giordano, 488 So.2d 538 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986). However, when the city continued to deduct from Giordano's pension a sum equal to his workers' compensation, Giordano sought a comparable increase in his workers' compensation. The deputy commissioner denied this claim on the premise that even though the city had made deductions from the pension benefits, it had fulfilled its obligations under the workers' compensation laws. Notwithstanding its prior decision, the First District Court of Appeal also affirmed that ruling. Giordano v. City of Miami, 526 So.2d 737 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988) (relying on Knight ).

The city asserts in each case that the deputy commissioner did not have jurisdiction to decide whether the city could reduce its pension benefits to the extent of workers' compensation payments. However, case law supports the view that a deputy commissioner may properly increase the amount of workers' compensation to offset illegal deductions made on the account of the payment of workers' compensation benefits. Marion Correctional Inst. v. Kriegel, 522 So.2d 45 (Fla. 5th DCA), review denied, 531 So.2d 1354 (Fla.1988); Chancey v. Florida Pub. Utils., 426 So.2d 1140 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983); see Jewel Tea Co. v. Florida Ind. Comm'n, 235 So.2d 289 (Fla.1969). Also, we are not persuaded by the city's argument that its pension fund was an indispensable party. After all, the city is responsible for the payment of both workers' compensation and pension benefits regardless of the funds from which these monies are withdrawn, and the city has strenuously litigated this case on behalf of its pension fund throughout these proceedings. Thus, we will decide these cases on their merits.

Section 440.21, Florida Statutes (1987), an integral part of the workers' compensation law, states:

440.21 Invalid agreements; penalty.--

(1) No agreement by an employee to pay any portion of premium paid by his employer to a carrier or to contribute to a benefit fund or department maintained by such employer for the purpose of providing compensation or medical services and supplies as required by this chapter shall be valid, and any employer who makes a deduction for such purpose from the pay of any employee entitled to

Page 254

the benefits of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083.

(2) No agreement by an employee to waive his right to compensation under this chapter shall be valid.

In Jewel Tea Co. v. Florida Industrial Commission, 235 So.2d 289 (Fla.1969), the Court held that this statute prevented a private employer from deducting group health insurance benefits from an injured claimant's workers' compensation benefits. In pointing out that the employer could not accomplish the same result by deducting the compensation payments from the insurance benefits, the Court said:

Regardless of whether you say the workmen's compensation benefits reduce the group insurance benefits or visa [sic] versa, the result violates the Statute. Claimant is entitled to workmen's compensation in addition to any benefits under an insurance plan to which he contributed.

Id. at 291. The same rule was followed with respect to sick leave benefits, Brown v. S.S. Kresge Co., 305 So.2d 191 (Fla.1974), and pension benefits, regardless of whether the employee contributed to the funding of these benefits. Domutz v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 339 So.2d 636 (Fla.1976)....

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71 practice notes
  • State, Dept. of Educ. v. Glasser, No. 91-02336
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 31, 1992
    ...of state to be represented). See also Mayo v. Nat'l Truck Brokers, Inc., 220 So.2d 11 (Fla.1969); cf. Barragan v. City of Miami, 545 So.2d 252 (Fla.1989) (city strenuously litigated on behalf of its pension fund). In fact, the same attorney who participated in the final hearing for the atto......
  • Vazzo v. City of Tampa, No. 8:17-cv-2896-T-02AAS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • October 4, 2019
    ...language utilized that the Legislature has clearly preempted local regulation of the subject." Id. (citing to Barragan v. City of Miami , 545 So. 2d 252, 254 (Fla. 1989) ). The D'Agastino Court held that the test for implied preemption requires that the courts look "to the provisions of the......
  • City of Hollywood v. Mulligan, No. SC04-990.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • July 6, 2006
    ...(Fla. 1993) (citing City of Miami Beach v. Rocio Corp., 404 So.2d 1066, 1069 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981)); see also Barragan v. City of Miami, 545 So.2d 252, 254 (Fla.1989) (stating that the municipal home rule powers act "limits cities from legislating on any subject expressly preempted to state go......
  • Champlovier v. City of Miami, No. 93-710
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 12, 1995
    ...now seeks a redetermination of his average weekly wage to enhance his benefits as a result of the decision in Barragan v. City of Miami, 545 So.2d 252 (Fla.1989). It appears from the record that he knew or believed at the time of the stipulation that the average weekly wage was higher than ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
71 cases
  • State, Dept. of Educ. v. Glasser, No. 91-02336
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 31, 1992
    ...of state to be represented). See also Mayo v. Nat'l Truck Brokers, Inc., 220 So.2d 11 (Fla.1969); cf. Barragan v. City of Miami, 545 So.2d 252 (Fla.1989) (city strenuously litigated on behalf of its pension fund). In fact, the same attorney who participated in the final hearing for the atto......
  • Vazzo v. City of Tampa, No. 8:17-cv-2896-T-02AAS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • October 4, 2019
    ...language utilized that the Legislature has clearly preempted local regulation of the subject." Id. (citing to Barragan v. City of Miami , 545 So. 2d 252, 254 (Fla. 1989) ). The D'Agastino Court held that the test for implied preemption requires that the courts look "to the provisions of the......
  • City of Hollywood v. Mulligan, No. SC04-990.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • July 6, 2006
    ...(Fla. 1993) (citing City of Miami Beach v. Rocio Corp., 404 So.2d 1066, 1069 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981)); see also Barragan v. City of Miami, 545 So.2d 252, 254 (Fla.1989) (stating that the municipal home rule powers act "limits cities from legislating on any subject expressly preempted to state go......
  • Champlovier v. City of Miami, No. 93-710
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 12, 1995
    ...now seeks a redetermination of his average weekly wage to enhance his benefits as a result of the decision in Barragan v. City of Miami, 545 So.2d 252 (Fla.1989). It appears from the record that he knew or believed at the time of the stipulation that the average weekly wage was higher than ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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