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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pre-existent non-work-related condition not an absolute bar to eligibility for General Municipal Law §207-c disability benefits

Pre-existent non-work-related condition not an absolute bar to eligibility for General Municipal Law §207-c disability benefits
Matter of Brunner v Bertoni, 2012 NY Slip Op 00167, Appellate Division, Third Department

A police officer sustained serious injuries in an off-duty motorcycle accident. Upon his return to work with the Village of Endicott Police Department, he undertook mandatory firearms training that involved repeatedly firing his sidearm with his left hand. He could not complete the training due to pain in his left thumb and, as a result, stopped working for eight months until learning how to shoot his weapon with his right hand.

The police officer had applied for benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c. His application was ultimately denied by the Mayor and the officer filed an Article 78 petition seeking a court order directing the Village to provide him with §207-c benefits.

The Appellate Division sustained the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the petition explaining that although "[p]reexisting non-work-related conditions [would] not bar recovery . . . [if the police officer’s] job duties were a direct cause of the disability," substantial evidence in the record amply supported the Mayor’s finding that “they were not a direct cause” in this instance.

General Municipal Law §207-c provides eligible law enforcement personnel with benefits, including full wages, in the event they are injured in the performance of their duties. Such individuals, however, must "prove a direct causal relationship between job duties and the resulting illness or injury" in order to be entitled to such benefits.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: 

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General Municipal Law§§ 207-a and 207-c - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and providing benefits thereunder is available from the Public Employment Law Press. Click on http://section207.blogspot.com/ for additional information about this electronic reference manual.

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Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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