By David Harris Orlando Sentinel
ORLANDO, Fla. — The wife of a retired Orlando police officer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the massacre at Pulse nightclub said the city has backed out of a proposed settlement in his workers’ compensation lawsuit.
Gerry Realin was rendered permanently disabled after working on the team that removed bodies from Pulse after the attack in June 2016, which left him with PTSD, according to the lawsuit.
He is suing the city and the Orlando Police Department in Orange County circuit court, claiming lost wages and medical benefits, as well as Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations.
His wife Jessica Realin said the parties met for mediation in June and came to a proposed settlement, but her attorney called her Monday to say the city backed out of the deal.
She declined to say what the settlement was.
“Gerry wanted to move on,” his wife said. “He felt like he wanted to be completely separated (from the city). He didn’t feel like he could handle trial. I guess the city wants a trial.”
Realin’s attorney Paolo Longo declined comment, citing pending litigation.
The lawsuit says the Hazmat team did not have the proper equipment, thus violating OSHA requirements. It also said the city denied him about $7,200 worth of sick and vacation time that he used while unable to work because of the PTSD. It claims the city harassed him throughout the process that led to his early retirement last year.
In a response to the lawsuit, the city denied all the allegations and said some of Realin’s lost benefits could be offset if he found other work.
Spokeswoman Cassandra Lafser said the city’s risk management committee must approve any settlement over $25,000.
“At the present time, the parties have not reached an agreement, but discussions will continue throughout the litigation process,” Lafser said. “Additionally, until a settlement or lawsuit is final, any settlement discussions are confidential.”
©2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)