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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:James VanDevender, a deputy sheriff, was injured on the job on April 11, 2000. He returned to work on Aug. 14, 2000. The sheriff’s term ended Dec. 31, 2000, and he was elected to another four-year term beginning on Jan. 1, 2001. VanDevender was redeputized, but then suffered another period of disability that began on March 2, 2001, caused by the April 2000 injury. VanDevender filed a declaratory judgment action against his locality, asserting that he was not paid his full salary during a second term, after he sustained an on-the-job injury during the first term of his employment as a deputy sheriff. As authority, VanDevender cited Texas Constitution Article III, 52e, which grants the state authority to pay medical expenses for sheriffs and deputy sheriffs who are injured on the job, “providing, however, that said payment of salary shall cease on the expiration of the term of office to which such official was elected or appointed.” The trial court entered a take-nothing judgment against VanDevender, finding that the evidence did not show one way or the other whether VanDevender’s current disability was caused by his April 2000 injury. VanDevender was paid the constitutional benefit to which he was entitled until the end of the sheriff’s first term in December 2000. On appeal, VanDevender contends that the trial court misinterpreted the constitutional provision. He argues that provision should be construed to permit the payment of his full salary during a second term of employment in which the disability continued. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court rejects VanDevender’s reliance on Samaniego v. Aguelles, 737 S.W.2d 88 (Tex.App. El Paso 1987, no writ), finding the case stands for the opposite principle argued by VanDevender. The Samaniego court explained that the expiration of the term of office would proscribe the claim if the term expired before the deputy recovered his working capacity. “We conclude that to construe the provision as VanDevender asks would fail to give effect to the plain meaning of the clause requiring the salary payment for an injury cease on the expiration of the term of office to which the official was elected or appointed. Given the requirement in the limiting phrase that the payments”shall cease’ on expiration of the term, we cannot construe the provision to give additional length to the”incapacity’ phrase.” Additionally, the court notes, the provision uses the word “term,” not “terms,” to describe the limitation on the required payment. OPINION:David Gaultney, J.; Gaultney, Kreger and Horton, JJ.

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