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Cigarette Smoker With Breathing Problems Gets Disability

A former firefighter has been awarded disability for breathing problems despite being a smoker. After fourteen years as a city firefighter, Mike Enright was involved in a drunk driving incident and was arrested for crashing into a video store. After the arrest, Enright was in jeopardy of losing his city job and did not have enough time on the job to retire.

Enright then filed for disability, citing obstructive lung disease. He is a pack-a-day cigarette smoker and suffers from emphysema. He attended court to try and reinstate his driver’s license so he could continue working with the fire department and on a construction job he did with another fire fighter who was chairman of the pension board. At the time, Enright offered letters from medical professionals on different occasions that cited his breathing problems stemmed from smoking. He lost that case.

In 2006, Enright filed for workers compensation on the basis of pulmonary damage after serving as a firefighter. The city fought back, alleging the condition was not work-related but still settled the case for $29,206. Enright also received $5,166 from a second-injury fund. A month after the case was settled, the pension board, including his former construction buddy, voted to give him service-related disability retirement at the annual rate of $44,322 which is tax-free. Enright has since opened a restaurant in St. Louis which has already been named as Best Neighborhood Restaurant in 2011.

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