Elliott v. Dugger, No. 90-1721

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtSMITH
Citation579 So.2d 827
Docket NumberNo. 90-1721
Decision Date13 May 1991
PartiesRobert C. ELLIOTT and Carol K. Elliott, his wife, Appellants, v. Richard L. DUGGER, as Secretary of the State of Florida Department of Corrections, Appellee. 579 So.2d 827, 16 Fla. L. Week. D1354

Page 827

579 So.2d 827
Robert C. ELLIOTT and Carol K. Elliott, his wife, Appellants,
v.
Richard L. DUGGER, as Secretary of the State of Florida
Department of Corrections, Appellee.
No. 90-1721.
579 So.2d 827, 16 Fla. L. Week. D1354
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.
May 13, 1991.
Rehearing Denied June 24, 1991.

Page 828

Terence M. Brown, P.A., Starke, and P. Scott Russell, IV, Gentry and Phillips, P.A., Jacksonville, for appellants.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., Cecilia Bradley, Asst. Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, for appellee.

SMITH, Judge.

The Elliotts appeal a final summary judgment entered in favor of Dugger. The trial court ruled that their claims for Robert Elliott's work-related injuries based upon simple negligence, intentional tort, and the gross negligence of a coemployee, were either barred by section 440.11, Florida Statutes (1985), which provides that workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy for workplace injury, or the sovereign immunity provisions of section 768.28(9)(a), Florida Statutes (1985). We affirm the trial court's final summary judgment in all respects.

On or about June 18, 1986, Elliott, while on duty as a correctional officer at the reception and medical center in Lake Butler, Florida, unknowingly ingested blood serum contaminated with the AIDS virus, which was placed in his drink by Inmate Grimmer. Inmate Grimmer had obtained the serum from Inmate Dunn, who worked at the medical laboratory at Lake Butler. Since then, Elliott has been repeatedly tested for AIDS, and he has tested negative. Elliott has continued to work for the Department of Corrections (DOC), although he has since been reassigned to a medical center in Jacksonville. After the incident, he suffered mental anguish, anxiety-related nightmares, depression, insomnia, fatigue and crying spells.

Thereafter, Elliott filed a workers' compensation notice of injury, which he mistakenly assumed constituted a formal claim for benefits. The carrier responded, by letter, that benefits were not due. The letter notes claimant's return to work and the absence of any evidence relating medical problems to the incident. Significantly, the letter does not deny compensability of the incident. However, given the fact that the letter does deny benefits, claimant understandably thought that his claim had been denied. 1

Ultimately, the Elliotts sued Prison Health Services, Inc., which was responsible for the supervision and operation of the prison hospital and lab, and its employees, the inmates. They also sued Dugger, as Secretary of DOC, and Harry C. Winslow, the laboratory supervisor, who was alleged to be an employee of the DOC or Prison Health Services, or both. The Elliotts contend that Winslow knowingly and wrongfully used inmates in the laboratory, particularly Inmate Dunn, and then hid this fact from inspectors. As a result, Dunn gained access to the AIDS contaminated serum and took it from the hospital lab where it found its way into Elliott's drink.

At some point, claimant became aware of the need to file a formal workers' compensation claim, and he did so. In his claim, Elliott sought temporary total disability benefits for July 6, 1986, and from July 9, through July 26, 1986; past medical expenses

Page 829

in the nature of H.T.L.V. blood testing; further medical care in the nature of psychological or psychiatric counseling; and fees and costs. The claim was defended on the grounds that, although there was, admittedly, an accident arising out of and sustained within the course and scope of claimant's employment, there was no compensable injury arising out of the accident, and thus the benefits claimed were not due. The pertinent provisions of the order of the deputy commissioner (now judge of compensation claims) follow:

3. The nature of the accident was that blood serum from an AIDS patient was put into Claimant's coffee by an inmate of the prison, that Claimant drank same, and that three days later Claimant was informed of these facts.

4. Employer is obligated under the Act to furnish the Claimant with the H.T.L.V. blood testing received. Such said blood testing as Claimant received constituted reasonable and necessary medical care for the accident sustained herein. Employer should forthwith pay (or reimburse the group carrier for paying for) such care, as their interests shall appear and in accordance with the Medical and Surgical Fee Schedule.

* * * * * *

6...

To continue reading

Request your trial
13 practice notes
  • Sierra v. Associated Marine Institutes, Inc., No. 2D01-2406.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 18 Junio 2003
    ...and willful" as contemplated in the statute. On this point the defendants rely on the First District's decision in Elliott v. Dugger, 579 So.2d 827 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). In that case the court held that the plaintiff, a Department of Corrections employee, had failed to allege conduct suffici......
  • Vause v. Bay Medical Center, No. 94-549
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 30 Diciembre 1996
    ...Fla.Stat. (1991); Gonzalez v. Metropolitan Dade County Public Health Trust, 651 So.2d 673, 676 (Fla.1995); Elliott v. Dugger, 579 So.2d 827 (Fla. 1st DCA), rev. denied, 591 So.2d 181 (Fla.1991). Appellant, however, asserts that in accordance with the decision in Holmes County School Bd. v. ......
  • Doe v. City of Stamford, No. 15631
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 22 Julio 1997
    ...(1991) ("a compensable injury is one which causes disability or need for medical Page 57 treatments"[241 Conn. 702] ); Elliott v. Dugger, 579 So.2d 827, 830 (Fla.App.1991) ("[t]he fact that [workers' compensation claimant] has yet to suffer any proven disability ... as a result of his expos......
  • Gomez v. Metro Dade County, Fla., No. 91-0560-CIV-HIGHSMITH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • 24 Julio 1992
    ...conduct substantially certain to result in injury or death, or where the conduct arises from a sexual harassment claim. Elliot v. Dugger, 579 So.2d 827 (1st DCA 14 Fla.Stat. 768.28(9)(a) makes the state immune form suit for acts of employees committed in bad faith or with malicious purpose ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Sierra v. Associated Marine Institutes, Inc., No. 2D01-2406.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 18 Junio 2003
    ...and willful" as contemplated in the statute. On this point the defendants rely on the First District's decision in Elliott v. Dugger, 579 So.2d 827 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). In that case the court held that the plaintiff, a Department of Corrections employee, had failed to allege conduct suffici......
  • Vause v. Bay Medical Center, No. 94-549
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 30 Diciembre 1996
    ...Fla.Stat. (1991); Gonzalez v. Metropolitan Dade County Public Health Trust, 651 So.2d 673, 676 (Fla.1995); Elliott v. Dugger, 579 So.2d 827 (Fla. 1st DCA), rev. denied, 591 So.2d 181 (Fla.1991). Appellant, however, asserts that in accordance with the decision in Holmes County School Bd. v. ......
  • Doe v. City of Stamford, No. 15631
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 22 Julio 1997
    ...(1991) ("a compensable injury is one which causes disability or need for medical Page 57 treatments"[241 Conn. 702] ); Elliott v. Dugger, 579 So.2d 827, 830 (Fla.App.1991) ("[t]he fact that [workers' compensation claimant] has yet to suffer any proven disability ... as a result of his expos......
  • Gomez v. Metro Dade County, Fla., No. 91-0560-CIV-HIGHSMITH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • 24 Julio 1992
    ...conduct substantially certain to result in injury or death, or where the conduct arises from a sexual harassment claim. Elliot v. Dugger, 579 So.2d 827 (1st DCA 14 Fla.Stat. 768.28(9)(a) makes the state immune form suit for acts of employees committed in bad faith or with malicious purpose ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT