The California Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the city does not owe one of its employees for any back pay or benefits while she was not working for the city from May 2004 to January 2007 due to an injury.
Vicky Whetstone was hired as a meter reader in August 1989. The lawsuit said she was injured at work in February 2004, and the city required her to be examined by a doctor, who cleared her to go back to work.
In June 2004, Whetstone's primary physician said that she could no longer lift or carry more than 20 pounds, use a keyboard or hold her neck in a static position and was permanently disabled.
Lodi did not allow her to return to work and told her she needed to file for a disability retirement, which she filed in June 2004.
She was again examined by a doctor who said she could continue working, and the California Public Employee's Retirement System denied her request for permanent disability.
In 2006, she requested to be hired back as a meter reader, and she started again on Jan. 16, 2007, according to the lawsuit. She then wrote a letter to human resources asking for back pay and benefits from May 2, 2004 to Jan. 15, 2007, when she was not working.
The city did not respond, and Whetstone did not file a claim against the city at that time. She then filed a suit in 2009.
City Attorney Steve Schwabauer said the court concluded that Whetstone did not file a claim in time.
"What's obvious from the appeal is that she contended that she was owed back pay, and the court essentially concluded that her claims were barred by the statute of limitations," he said.