An appeals court has unanimously upheld the decision of the state Workers’ Compensation Board to deny a professional boxer benefits for the 30 percent loss of the use of his left arm after determining the injury was suffered in the ring during a bout and not his day job as a porter. The Appellate Division, Third Department, affirmed the board’s finding that Edelmiro “The Tiger” Martinez of the Bronx “misrepresented” his medical history by filing a claim that he tore his left bicep on Aug. 18, 2004, while moving garbage bags for his employer, Lefrak City Management. Instead, the board concluded that Martinez suffered the injury during a July 30, 2004, super featherweight fight against Nate Campbell at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
According to the appellate ruling in Matter of Martinez v. Lefrak City Management, 512335, Martinez was informed by his physician on Aug. 9, 2004, that an MRI had confirmed the torn bicep and the need to have it surgically repaired. The board ruled that Martinez failed to disclose the boxing injury to any of the medical providers he saw following his purported Aug. 18, 2004, on-the-job injury. Word of the injury emerged when Lefrak City Management challenged the benefits awarded to Martinez for loss of the use of his arm. The board ultimately denied the 30 percent schedule loss under Workers’ Compensation Law §114-a, which allows the rescinding of such awards when it determines that claimants knowingly made a “false statement or representation as to a material fact.”
The law allows Martinez limited medical benefits for his injuries, even though they were suffered while he was off-the-job. The panel upheld the board’s affirmation of Martinez’ medical benefits. Justices William McCarthy (See Profile), Karen Peters (See Profile), Robert Rose (See Profile), Edward Spain (See Profile) and Elizabeth Garry (See Profile) joined in the ruling.
Boxing records show that Martinez was disqualified in the fourth round of the fight against Campbell for two low blows and that he did not fight professionally again. His record was 21-3-1.