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June 28, 2010

Preexisting condition does not bar receiving GML §207-c if the claimant shows that the job duties were a direct cause of the disability

Preexisting condition does not bar receiving GML §207-c if the claimant shows that the job duties were a direct cause of the disability
D'Accursio v Monroe County, 2010 NY Slip Op 05455, Decided on June 18, 2010, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Paul D’Accursio, a "Deputy Sheriff Jailor" with the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, filed a petition pursuant to CPLR Article 78 proceeding seeking to annul the denial of his application for General Municipal Law §207-c benefits. His application had been rejected on the ground that D’Accursio did not sustain the injury on which he based his claim in the performance of his job duties.

Supreme Court properly concluded that the determination was arbitrary and capricious and granted the petition.

The Appellate Division agreed, holding that General Municipal Law § 207-c, which provides for the payment of full regular salary or wages to certain law enforcement officers injured in the performance of their duties or taken sick as a result of the performance of their duties so as to necessitate medical or other lawful remedial "does not require that [officers] additionally demonstrate that their disability is related in a substantial degree to their job duties."

Citing White v County of Cortland, 97 NY2d 336, the Appellate Division ruled that “an officer ‘need only prove a direct causal relationship between job duties and the resulting illness or injury."

Further, the court observed that a preexisting condition does not bar recovery under section 207-c if the officer establishes "that the job duties were a direct cause of the disability."

Sustaining Supreme Court’s ruling the Appellate Division said that it concluded that D’Accursio had established "such a direct causal relationship and thus demonstrated his entitlement to benefits under General Municipal Law §207-c."

The decision is posted on the Internet at: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_05455.htm

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