City of Pearland Seeks to Overturn Wife’s Workers’ Comp Death Benefits

The common law wife of a Pearland police officer killed by a drunk driver wins her Contested Case Hearing and Appeals Panel rulings only to be sued by the City of Pearland’s workers’ compensation fund. The state association that handles the city’s workers’ compensation filed a lawsuit that aims to block payment of death benefits on behalf of Endy Ekpanya, killed on the job by a drunk driver on June 12, 2016

Attorneys from the TMLIRP are seeking a judge’s ruling on whether Lucy Lugo is entitled to his workers’ compensation benefits. Last March, a benefit review officer decided against TMLIRP and ruled Lucy Lugo was the common law wife and legal beneficiary of Ekpanya, who was killed by Amber Willemsen after Willemsen had left her job as a stripper. The risk pool lost a second time when an appeals panel again sided with Lugo, saying she presented sufficient evidence to prove she was Ekpanya’s common-law wife as defined by state law. Lugo and other family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Willemsen and the owners of a strip club where Willemsen worked

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