Court of Appeals gives firefighter's widow another try at disability benefits | Arkansas Blog

Court of Appeals gives firefighter's widow another try at disability benefits

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CASE CONTINUES: For the late Springdale firefighter Bud Planchon, shown here with his daughter Olivia.
  • CASE CONTINUES: For the late Springdale firefighter Bud Planchon, shown here with his daughter Olivia.
In a case that has been winding through the legal system for at least four years, the Arkansas Court of Appeals today granted a new hearing to Jane Sexton in her claim that her late husband, Springdale firefighter Harold "Bud" Planchon, was entitled to duty related disability benefits for his colon cancer.

The Arkansas Local Police and Fire Retirement System had granted disability benefits to Planchon, but not duty-related benefits, despite testimony from several doctors that conditions at his work could have led to his colon cancer. The retirement system, whose own doctor said the claim was plausible, said had failed to prove a certain cause, though agreeing he'd been exposed to carcinogens. Planchon retired in 2011 after 24 years with the Fire Department. He died in 2014 at age 51.

The Court of Appeals decision said the retirement board had set an improper standard in requiring a "definite causation" and sent the case back to the retirement board for further hearings.

The case has already been to the Arkansas Supreme Court on the question of whether Sexton could substitute as the plaintiff after her husband died.

Here's the full opinion today by the Court of Appeals.

The Arkansas Times' David Koon wrote about Planchon's case back in 2012 and his race against time to fight for full benefits.

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