ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS NOT USED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN THE SUMMARIES OF JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL DECISIONS PREPARED BY NYPPL

January 30, 2012

Agency or insurance carrier must provide substantial evidence to rebut presumptions set out in Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law as to cause of death

Agency or insurance carrier must provide substantial evidence to rebut presumptions set out in Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law as to cause of death
Machajewski v Town of Cambria, 89 AD3d 1175

Gerald A. Machajewski, a volunteer firefighter for the Town of Cambria, Niagara County, collapsed while responding to a call and died shortly thereafter.

It was determined that Machajewski suffered an acute coronary artery thrombosis, and the Workers' Compensation Board, applying the rebuttable presumptions contained in Volunteer Firefighters' Benefit Law §§44 and 61*, ultimately approved a claim for workers' compensation death benefits by Machajewski’s widow.

When the Town’s and its workers' compensation carrier’s appealed the Board’s determination, the Appellate Division said that there is no dispute that a heart or coronary artery condition caused Machajewski's death and thus his widow would entitled to death benefits if that condition "resulted from the duties and activities in which [decedent] was engaged" (Volunteer Firefighters' Benefit Law §61[1]).

As the record indicated that Machajewski had never been diagnosed with a heart condition and had been examined by his physician just weeks before his death and was found to be in good health, the Appellate Division ruled that “Inasmuch as that ‘evidence permits reasonable inferences to sustain the finding of the [B]oard that the death was due to unusual strain and effort’ attendant to [Machajewski’s] duties, the Town was obliged to provide substantial evidence to the contrary in order to defeat his widow’s application.

The court held that “the Board properly determined that claimant's demonstration of entitlement to death benefits had not been rebutted.”

* Presumptions regarding death or disability due to disease or malfunction of his or her heart or coronary arteries suffered by a volunteer firefighter alleged to have resulted from the performance of the duties and activities in which the volunteer fireman was engaged

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2011/2011_07765.htm

CAUTION

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE, OR CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING SUCH MATERIAL, DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
Copyright 2009-2024 - Public Employment Law Press. Email: n467fl@gmail.com