October 16, 2014: Gilbert L. Payne Statement Of Facts In Support Of Guilty Plea
STATEMENT OF FACT IN SUPPORT OF GUILTY PLEA
The Defendant, Gilbert L. Payne, was employed as a Baltimore City Police Officer from April of 2005 through December of 2007. He then worked as a Towson University Police Officer from May of 2008 through December of 2009. Since January of 2010, he has been employed as a Montgomery County Police Officer.
On August 13, 2006, while on-duty as a police officer with the Baltimore City Police Department, Payne was involved in a motor-vehicle-accident which resulted in injuries to his head, neck, back, left arm and right hip.
Following a period of treatment, Payne reached Maximum Medical Improvement (hereinafter “MMI”), which is the point where further treatment would not improve his injuries. Upon reaching MMI, a hearing was scheduled before the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission to determine the “nature and extent of permanent disability” related to the August 13, 2006 accident.
Prior to that hearing, on August 1, 2007, Payne had filed for a Line-of-Duty Disability Retirement through the Fire and Police Employees’ Retirement System for the City of Baltimore. Payne’s Line-of-Duty Disability Retirement was approved, effective November 14, 2007 at which time he began to receive weekly payments of $513.70.
On September 19, 2008, claim #B6651463, “Gilbert L. Payne, Claimant vs. Mayor & City Councils of Baltimore, Employer and Self-Insurer”, was heard before Commissioner Maureen Quinn of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Commissioners are appointed to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate and are granted the authority to administer an oath and to conduct a hearing or other investigation for the Commission. A decision or order of the member of the Commission shall be considered a decision or order of the Commission.
During the September 19, 2008 hearing, under direct examination Payne testified while under oath that he was not currently employed and that he had not worked since his retirement from the Baltimore City Police Department.
Specifically, at the Workers’ Compensation hearing held in Baltimore City on September 19, 2008, the defendant responded to the Commissioner’s questions and testified under oath as follows:
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The Commission: Before we start, are you working at all?
The Witness: No, ma’am. Currently I’m not.
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Q: Have you ever worked since your retirement?
A: I have not.
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The Commission: Are you trying to work?
The Witness: I’m currently a student. Prior to me joining the police department, I was active duty military. Other than my military skills, I didn’t have lots more so I went straight to the police department. So now I’m in school trying to obtain a different skill. I have filled out applications for jobs. I’m in the process of continuing the background investigation with Towson University for their records management department.
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Q: What type of degree are you going for?
A: Criminal justice.
Q: And you’re paying for that?
A: Yes. Financial aid is helping me out.
Q: Okay. And again just have you worked at all since your retirement in ’07?
A: No. I have not worked.
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Q: You had this position at Towson. Does it look promising?
A: It does. I’m in like the second phase, interview phase. So I had an initial
interview, got called back, and they’re doing my background investigation now.
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Q: If you do get this job at Towson, what is the yearly salary for the job?
A: $26,000 a year.
In her October 14, 2008 finding, based on the September 19, 2008 hearing,
Commissioner Quinn found that for the August 13, 2007 accident, Gilbert Payne sustained a permanent partial disability under “Other Cases” amounting to 79% industrial loss of use of the body as a result of injuries to the lumbar spine (4%), cervical spine (9%), as a result of headaches (12%), head/seizures (14%) and loss of earning capacity (40%). Pursuant to Section 9-630 of the Labor and Employment Article, Payne suffered a serious disability, and was therefore entitled to receive 395 weeks of permanent partial disability benefit payments, plus an additional one-third weeks, for a total of 526 compensable weeks at a weekly payment of $601.00, beginning on November 14, 2007.
Section 9-160(a) of the Labor and Employment Article, which is part of the Workers’ Compensation Law, provides in relevant part, that if a law, regulation, or policy provides “a benefit to a covered employee of a governmental unit…that is subject to this title…payment of the benefit by the employer satisfies, to the extent of the payment, the liability of the employer…for payment of benefits under the title.” If the alternative benefit equals or exceeds the Workers’ Compensation benefit otherwise payable, the set-off is complete, and the employer’s obligation to pay the workers’ compensation benefit is fully discharged. If the workers’ compensation benefit exceeds the alternative benefit, the employer must pay the difference, as determined by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Commissioner Quinn’s October 14, 2008 order of $601.00 per week for a period of 526 weeks was offset by Payne’s weekly disability pension payment of $513.70 and the Workers’ Compensation award was reduced from $601.00 per week to $87.30 per week for a period of 526 weeks.
Investigation revealed, however, that the above cited testimony of the defendant was entirely fabricated. Specifically, a review of Payne’s personnel file from the Towson University Police Department reflects that Payne was hired as a University Police Officer II with a start date of May 5, 2008. As of the hearing on September 19, 2008, Payne was still employed with the Towson University Police Department. In fact, a review of time and records for Payne reflect that he worked his regularly scheduled shift as a Towson University Police Officer the day before, the day of, and the day after the hearing.
Evidence also obtained during this investigation further reflects that during the period of November 12, 2007 through March 3, 2008, Payne had also been employed as a Licensed Practical Nurse with the Carroll Hospital Center in Carroll County, Maryland. During this period, Payne received a total of $11,109.03 in salary.
As further evidence that the Commissioner relied on the aforementioned perjurious testimony, the State cites Commissioner Quinn’s comments during a May 29, 2013, Workers’ Compensation Hearing involving another unrelated motor vehicle accident claim by the defendant.
Referring back to the September 19, 2008 hearing, Commissioner Maureen Quinn stated that “Because I made a very significant finding on loss of earning capacity in that case based on – – I’m sure on the fact that he wasn’t working, that I thought he wouldn’t work again. This is a case for betterment. I’d have to say I am really – – disappointed that I have him such a large award when he’s now back to work as a police officer. This is a very kind of thing I try to avoid which why I require so much evidence of loss of earning capacity.”
All these events occurred in the State of Maryland.
EMMET C. DAVITT