Applicant for accidental disability retirement benefits must show that the disability resulted from “sudden mischance” unrelated to the ordinary risks of the job
Reynolds v DiNapoli, 2012 NY Slip Op 05374, Appellate Division, Third Department
A police officer was permanently disabled as the result of injuries sustained while attempting to subdue a suspect who had been handcuffed and placed in the rear of a police car. Although the officer’s application for performance of duty disability retirement benefits was approved, his application for accidental disability retirement benefits was denied by the Retirement System on the ground that the incident did not constitute an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law.
The officer appealed but the Appellate Division confirmed the System’s administrative decision.
The court said that in order to establish entitlement to accidental disability retirement benefits, an individual must demonstrate that the incident giving rise to the injuries was a sudden mischance unrelated to the ordinary risks of performing his or her job.
The decision noted that the denial of accidental disability retirement benefits when a law enforcement officer sustains an injury in the course of restraining a disruptive individual, as that type of physical contact is inherent in the performance of an officer's duties, has been consistently upheld by the court.
As the officer’s testimony indicated that he was injured in the course of attempting to subdue an unruly suspect, the Appellate Division said that it found that substantial evidence supported the Retirement System's determination.
The decision is posted on the Internet at:
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 and other disability retirement issues is available from the Public Employment Law Press. Click on http://section207.blogspot.com/ for additional information about this electronic reference manual.