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November 24, 2014

Appealing the denial of an application for General Municipal Law §207-c disability benefits


Appealing the denial of an application for General Municipal Law §207-c disability benefits
Lowther v County of Rockland, 2014 NY Slip Op 08018, Appellate Division, Second Department

The Rockland County Sheriff denied Deputy Sheriff Charles Lowther’s application for disability benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c. A hearing officer confirmed the Sheriff’s determination and Lowther appealed the arbitrator’s ruling.

The Appellate Division sustained the arbitrator’s decision and dismissed Lowther ’s appeal “on the merits.”

As a procedural matter, the court first explained that it would treat this appeal as one that had been transferred here by the Supreme Court and would review the administrative determination de novo *

The standard of review in an administrative determination made after a hearing is limited to the Appellate Division's considering whether the determination was supported by substantial evidence. The test of whether an administrative determination is supported by substantial evidence is whether, on the record, a reasonable person might have made the findings and conclusions made by the administrative agency.

The Appellate Division then observed that in order to be eligible for disability benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c, a covered municipal employee must prove a direct causal relationship between his or her job duties and the resulting alleged illness or injury. In this instance the court found that the arbitrator's determination that Lowther was not entitled to benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c was supported by substantial evidence in the record.

In contrast, where an administrative body renders a determination without holding a hearing, the appropriate standard of review is whether the determination was arbitrary and capricious or lacking a rational basis, which questions are to be initially addressed in Supreme Court.

* When a petition raises a question of whether an administrative determination made after a hearing is supported by substantial evidence, the proceeding should be transferred from the Supreme Court to the Appellate Division to address that issue.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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General Municipal Law§§ 207-a and 207-c - Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and providing benefits thereunder. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html
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