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Arizona high court upholds ex-deputy’s compensation claim from shooting

(Facebook Photo/Gila County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX — An Arizona Supreme Court ruling says the state Industrial Commission wrongly denied a workers’ compensation claim by a former Gila County sheriff’s deputy who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to stress from a fatal shooting.

The justices unanimously ruled Tuesday that consideration of former Deputy John France’s claim should have been centered on the extraordinary stress he experienced during a 2017 shooting, which ended with a wounded suspect dying at France’s feet.

An administrative law judge for the commission had ruled that based on France’s training and duties, the shooting incident was not unusual, unexpected or extraordinary.

The Supreme Court emphasized that the legal holding in its decision was limited to mental injuries stemming from a specific work-related incident and not “gradual injuries resulting from ordinary stresses and strains of the work regimen.”

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