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$30,327 in Payments for Compton Official Who Fell : Schools Appeal Trustee's Injury Award

January 15, 1987|WILLIAM NOTTINGHAM | Times Staff Writer

COMPTON — Although pleased that Trustee Bernice Woods lost her bid to receive workers' compensation benefits for the mental stress of her job, her colleagues on the Compton Unified School District Board have appealed a judge's decision granting payments for physical injuries she suffered in a fall.

In a petition to the state Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, school district lawyer John C. Martin asked that the ruling of Workers' Compensation Judge Maurice J. Carey be rescinded and an independent medical expert be directed to evaluate the severity of Woods' injuries.

Last November, Carey granted Woods payments totaling $30,327--$70 a week over the next eight years and thereafter a lifetime pension of $26.65 a week. Woods hurt her lower back, right leg and head when she tumbled down three or four steps in March, 1984, while leaving a trustee meeting.

Case Called 'Bizarre'

The judge called the case "one of the most bizarre" ever to come before him, primarily because Woods also alleged that her injuries were aggravated by psychological stress applied by district Supt. Ted D. Kimbrough. Carey rejected that claim.

Martin argued in his appeal that Carey was wrong to believe Woods told the truth about the extent of her physical injuries when it was clear that the judge disbelieved her claim of psychological stress. During hearings before Carey, school officials had presented evidence that Woods had published a misleading resume that claimed an assortment of educational credits that she never received. Martin said much of Woods' alleged suffering could be because she is overweight and has a form of diabetes.

Woods' attorney, Lawrence Gross, was unavailable for comment, but has previously said that his client would not appeal Carey's decision.

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