Birzer Reaches Settlement With Jockeys' Guild
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2006 10:20 AM
Posted: Saturday, August 5, 2006 8:15 PM
Jockeys' Guild manager Dwight Manley settles with disabled jockey.
Dwight Manley, who just eight days ago signed a contract as the new national manager of The Jockeys' Guild, said on TVG Saturday afternoon that a settlement had been reached the previous evening with permanently disabled jockey Gary Birzer.
Manley said Birzer received both a financial consideration - the amount of which is private - and other terms in the settlement package.
Birzer was injured in 2004 at a time when many jockeys thought they were covered by catastrophic insurance. However, the policy had lapsed, a situation many of those same riders were not aware of.
"It's a sad situation, but I was happy that he (Birzer) left the courthouse with more than he asked for," Manley said
The settlement was reached Friday night at the Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles, Manley said. After hours of negotiations, Manley said he asked if he could meet privately with Birzer and his father. Accompanying Manley was Darrell Haire, a regional Jockeys' Guild manager.
Manley related, "I asked him, 'What is it you need?' and Birzer said, 'I want my family taken care of.'"
"His family will be provided with insurance for five years, and Gary will work for me as a special consultant," Manley said. "He is still pro-jockeys and still pro-Guild."
He said Birzer's financial situation was "not the fault of the jockeys but of the people formerly in charge."
Manley was referring to the previous Guild management team headed by Dr. Wayne Gertmenian. It was while Gertmenian was in charge that the insurance policy was allowed to lapse.
Manley said there are currently 52 permanently disabled jockeys.
Discussing other aspects of the Guild and the industry, Manley said he had already met twice personally with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to discuss industry matters, and he also explained briefly about the advisory role Jesse Jackson will have with the organization.
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