Correctional Pre- Release System v. Whittington, 119 Md. App. 436, 705 A.2d 78 (1998).

Parties: Correctional Pre-Release System (employer) & IWIF now Chesapeake Employers (insurer) (appellants) & Preston Whittington (employee) (appellate)

Procedural History: Workers Compensation Commission issued an order requiring the employer and insurer to pay claimant $7,820.96 in temporary total disability benefits to supplement the accident leave paid to claimant and Commission awarded claimant attorney’s fees and penalties. Commission found for claimant after determining that the accident leave payment was lower than the payment he would have received if commission had awarded temporary total disability benefits. Appellants appealed the order to the Circuit Court for Wicomico County. The order granting temporary total disability benefits was affirmed and award of attorney’s fees and penalties reversed.

Facts: On August 18, 1994, claimant suffered a work related accidental injury which was compensable under Maryland Workers Compensation Law. He was awarded accident leave for certain periods when he was off work. The employee continued to accrue leave and retirement benefits and deductions were taken while he was receiving accidental leave pay.

Issue: Are State employees who receive accident leave also eligible to receive temporary total disability benefits for the same period?

Holding: No, a State employee who receives accident leave (through their employer) may not receive temporary total benefits under Maryland Worker’s Compensation Act.

Rationale: A State employee may be eligible for both accident leave and temporary disability at different times, but Md. Code Ann., State Pers. & Pens., § 9-704 (1996), Subsection 9-704(d) explicitly bars State employees from receiving both benefits for the same period. The trial court erroneously applied Md. Code Ann., Lab & Empl., § 9-610 (1991) to the case at bar.  § 9-610 indicates that if the benefit paid to a government employee under paragraph (1) of the subsection is less than the benefits that would have been paid under paragraph (2) of the subsection the employer shall provide employee with an additional benefit that equals the difference between the benefit paid under paragraph (1) of the subsection and benefits provided under paragraph (2). The court determined that due to the explicit language of section 9-704(d) the intent of the Legislature was clear and if an amendment is to be made to the section, it must come from the General Assembly and not the court.

Trial court’s ruling regarding the award of temporary total disability benefits is reversed.

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