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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Workers’ compensation benefits not available for injuries sustained by an individual in the course of an altercation unrelated to his or her employment


Workers’ compensation benefits not available for injuries sustained by an individual in the course of an altercation unrelated to his or her employment 
Belaska v New York State Dept. of Law, 2012 NY Slip Op 05046, Appellate Division, Third Department

Ann M. Belaska challenged a Workers' Compensation Board, ruling that her injury did not arise in course of her employment and denied her claim for workers' compensation benefits.

Belaska, a clerk employed by the Department of Law, sustained injuries to her chest, neck and shoulder after she was involved in an altercation with a fellow passenger on a shuttle bus ride from work to a satellite parking lot.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s determination, explaining that injuries stemming from an assault which arose in the course of employment are presumed to have arisen out of the employment unless substantial evidence is presented that the assault was motivated by purely personal animosity, citing Matter of Rosen v First Manhattan Bank, 84 NY2d 856.

In this instance, said the court, Belaska testified that, at the end of the bus ride to her car after work, a passenger tried to exit before her and she told the passenger to wait for her because of her disabilities. When that passenger became frustrated because Belaska was not getting off the bus fast enough, a verbal altercation ensued which then became physical, leading to Belaska’s injuries.

Noting that Belaska had testified that she had never before met the person who allegedly assaulted her, the Appellate Division held that substantial evidence supports the Board's determination that the assault on Belaska arose from personal hostilities unrelated to her employment.

The decisions is posted on the Internet at:

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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