A New York appeals court upheld the temporary suspension of benefits for an injured truck driver who failed to disclose his authorship and self-publishing of several books while collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
John Koratzanis was working for US Concrete Inc. as a truck driver in 2017 when he injured his knees, foot and ankle. After his compensation claim was accepted, his employer raised the issue of whether he had broken the law after making false statements about income he collected as a self-published author of books he allegedly wrote while he was out of work and collecting compensation benefits.
A workers’ compensation law judge found that Koratzani̵7;s failure to disclose his publishing activities after the accident violated the law and imposed a mandatory penalty of no compensable lost time from the date of the first post-accident publication to the date of the hearing, but declined to impose a discretionary penalty. His employer appealed.
Both the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board and a state appeals court affirmed, noting that Koratzanis made no effort to hide his publishing efforts, and he was readily forthcoming about his activities when questioned. Given this record, the court said it had no reason to disturb the board’s decision to impose only the mandatory penalty for the specified period.