City pays out $166,000 in workers compensation settlements | Paterson Times

City pays out $166,000 in workers compensation settlements


The city council approved $166,785 to settle 10 workers compensation cases during a special meeting on Tuesday evening.

The largest settlement of $35,580 was paid out to police officer Paul Tafuri who allegedly sustained injuries to his left leg, left shoulder, and cervical spine when he was struck by a vehicle on McBride Avenue near Hoxey Street while directing traffic on September 7th, 2009, according to city records.

The second largest settlement of $25,000 went to public works employee Rafael Sosa. He allegedly injured his back, neck, and shoulders due to “repetitive bending, lifting and carrying,” according to city records. The incident took place in 2008. Another incident, which was combined into the settlement, took place on May 19th, 2010, when Sosa injured his back while lifting a wooden log with a co-worker at 691 11th Avenue, according to city records.

The third largest settlement of $24,955 went to police officer Edwin Morillo. The city combined to separate incidents in Morillo’s settlement. The first incident occurred on October 21st, 2011, when he allegedly suffered neck, back, shoulders, right hand, and knee injuries after falling down steps while making an arrest at 44 Cianci Street. The second incident took place on December 18th, 2011, when Morillo injured his left knee while making an arrest at the 6th Avenue bridge.

The rest of the settlements are as follows:

  • Firefighter Micah Pierce allegedly sustained a chest injury while climbing into a fire truck on December 17th, 2011. Pierce’s case as settled for $23,433.
  • Police officer Marj Kush allegedly injured his lower back when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident on West Broadway near Presidential Boulevard on April 22nd, 2013, according to city records. His case was settled for $24,387.
  • Police officer Latia Taylor was allegedly bitten by a dog on her right and left forearms at 404 East 38th Street while responding to a call on July 22nd, 2012, according to city records. Taylor’s case was settled for $9,720.
  • Police officer Joseph Rodriguez allegedly injured his left arm, left shoulder, right wrist, back, and neck when his vehicle was struck by another at 151 East 33rd Street on December 8th, 2012. Rodriguez’s case was settled for $7,500.
  • Tax search officer Joanne Bottler allegedly injured her left leg, left arm, and left side when she tripped and fell on stairs at the city hall building on July 9th, 2013. Bottler’s case was settled for $6,500.
  • Public works employee Juan Velez was allegedly injured on March 27th, 2012, when he stepped off a truck into a pothole on 11th Avenue and East 24th Street. Velez’s case was settled for $6,210.
  • Longtime city firefighter Cesar Collaza is allegedly suffering from pulmonary injuries that resulted from exposure to dust, fumes, chemicals, and asbestos during his 18 years of employment with the city. Collaza’s case was settled for $3,500.

Council members approved the settlements without public discussions after a closed-door meeting with the city’s attorney.