N.D. Workers’ Comp Agency Reverses Deputy Decision

November 3, 2011

North Dakota’s workers’ compensation agency has reversed its decision to deny a death benefit claim to the widow of a Burleigh County sheriff’s deputy who died of an apparent heart attack while on duty.

Thirty-nine-year-old Bryan Sleeper died Sept. 28 while helping make an arrest. The state Workforce Safety and Insurance agency initially denied widow Lana Sleeper a claim under a law that says death benefits don’t apply in such cases if the worker used tobacco in the previous two years. Sleeper had used chewing tobacco.

WSI Deputy Director Clare Carlson says the agency took another look at the case at the request of the governor’s office and determined that the incident in which Sleeper died included a high level of work-related stress.

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