NEW CASE: Statutory Benefits for Firefighters With Cancer Do Not Apply Retroactively
A Florida appellate court ruled that a firefighter diagnosed with cancer before the effective date of Florida Statutes Section 112.1816 is not entitled to the benefits provided by the law, Weaver v. Volusia County, No. 5D21-1620, 10/21/2022.
Kathleen Weaver was a trailblazer for more than 35 years, fighting fires and protecting astronauts in a specialized role at the Kennedy Space Center before becoming a deputy chief at Volusia County Fire Rescue, where she retired in 2012.
Five years after she retired in 2012, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her diagnosis came two years before Florida Statutes Section 112.1816 became effective.
as a firefighter for three decades and rose through the ranks to become a Deputy Chief for Volusia County Fire Rescue.
Now, Weaver’s fight to be reimbursed retroactively for costs of her treatments, as well as a single $25,000 payout for the diagnosis, has been denied by the trial court judge and by the appeals court.
Her attorney said her fight for retroactive benefits under a 2019 Florida law could blaze a new path for hundreds of firefighters statewide, diagnosed with cancer before that statute went into place.“It is a very, very modest, small amount of money for somebody who’s diagnosed with occupational cancer, or occupational condition of any kind,” attorney Geoff Bichler said.