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N.B. §22 of the New York State's General Construction Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Whenever words of the masculine or feminine gender appear in any law, rule or regulation, unless the sense of the sentence indicates otherwise, they shall be deemed to refer to both male or female persons.” NYPPL applies this protocol to individuals referred to in a decision self-identifying as LGBTQA+.

April 25, 2011

Accidental disability retirement benefits application based on a training-related injury

Accidental disability retirement benefits application based on a training-related injury
Geraci v Hevesi, 37 AD3d 941

Joseph Geraci, a police officer, injured his left knee while participating in training course. Geraci said that his injury occurred when his left foot sank into an exercise mat and his sneaker gripped the mat, thereby causing his left leg to twist as he attempted to move to his right.

Claiming that the injury resulted from an accident, Geraci applied for accidental disability retirement benefits. The Retirement System’s hearing officer found that Geraci failed to establish that the incident resulting in his injury constituted an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law. The State Comptroller accepted the Hearing Officer's findings and conclusions, and disapproved Geraci ’s application for accidental disability retirement benefits.

The Appellate Division confirmed the Comptroller’s determination. The court said that based on its review of the record, “we cannot characterize the subject incident as a “'sudden, fortuitous mischance, unexpected, out of the ordinary, and injurious in impact'“ that would support a finding that Geraci’s injury resulted from an accident.

Rather, said the court, Geraci ’s injury “was the result of a training program constituting an ordinary part of petitioner's job duties and the normal risks arising therefrom,” citing Matter of Felix v New York State Comptroller, 28 AD3d 993, and other rulings.*

For the full text of the opinion, go to:

* The Appellate Division also commented that “regarding [Geraci’s argument concerning] the inappropriateness of his footwear, even if accepted, would not transform the incident into an accidental event.”

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