A workers compensation case against a volunteer firefighter is being closely watched across the state, both prosecutors and defense attorneys say. The case pits Niagara County prosecutors against a 66-year-old man who collected about $45,000 in workers’ compensation over two years after being injured on the job for a blacktopping company.
During that time, the man responded to 177 fire or rescue calls with the Wendelville Volunteer Fire Company, although the defense contends he did nothing more than bring coffee to other firefighters.
Prosecutors also charged his 65-year-old wife with a felony because she helped him file for workers’ compensation.
Now Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III is mulling whether to grant the defense’s request to dismiss the charges.
“People are watching this case statewide,” Assistant District Attorney Heather A. Sloma told the judge.
George V.C. Muscato, a defense attorney, agreed.
“There might be a number of volunteer fire companies who would be happy with a dismissal,” he told Murphy.