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September 9, 2015

A showing of a direct causal relationship between job duties and the resulting illness or injury entitles an eligible individual to General Municipal Law §207-c benefits


A showing of a direct causal relationship between job duties and the resulting illness or injury entitles an eligible individual to General Municipal Law §207-c benefits
Lynn v Town of Clarkstown, 2015 NY Slip Op 06726, Appellate Division, Second Department
Lynn v Town of Clarkstown, 2015 NY Slip Op 06727, Appellate Division, Second Department

§207-c of the General Municipal Law provides for the payment of salary, medical and hospital expenses of police officers, deputy sheriffs, correction officers and others serving in titles listed in subdivision 1 of §207-c who suffer injuries or illness incurred in, or resulting from, the performance of their duties.

The Chief of Police of the Town of Clarkstown Police Department denied Clarkstown Police Officer Robert Lynn’s applications for benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c [1] for injuries he reported he suffered when he fell while walking to his patrol vehicle while on duty and [2] for injuries he reported he suffered when he tripped and fell responding to an injured animal call while on patrol duty. The Chief of Police denied the applications on the ground that Lynn was not injured in the performance of his duties.

Lynninitiated two CPLR Article 78 proceedings to review the Chief’s determinations. The Supreme Court granted both petitions thereby annulling the Chief’s determinations and the Town appealed.

The Appellate Division said that a determination denying an application for General Municipal Law §207-c benefits may be annulled only if it was arbitrary and capricious, and "An action is arbitrary and capricious when it is taken without sound basis in reason or regard to the facts," citing Peckham V Calogero, 12 NY3d 424.

The court explained that "a covered municipal employee need only prove a direct causal relationship between job duties and the resulting illness or injury" in order to be entitled to §207-c benefits. Further, said the Appellate Division, the word "duties" in General Municipal Law § 207-c "encompasses the full range of a covered employee's job duties," citing Theroux v Reilly, 1 NY3d at 232.

The Appellate Division ruled that Supreme Court properly found that [Lynn] had been injured in the performance of his duties in both instances and that the denial of his applications for §207-c benefits was arbitrary and capricious.

The decisions are posted on the Internet at:

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Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law §§207-a/207-c and other laws, rules, regulations and court decisions applicable to New York State officers and employees unable to perform the duties of their position as the result of an injury or disease. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html
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NEW YORK PUBLIC PERSONNEL LAW ELECTRONIC HANDBOOKS

The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public officers and employees in New York State. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - Determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/7401.html

Disability Benefits for fire, police and other public sector personnel - Addresses retirement for disability under the NYS Employees' Retirement System, the NYS Teachers' Retirement System, General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and similar statutes providing benefits to employees injured both "on-the-job" and "off-the-job." For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual -Focusing on relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html

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Text prepared by Harvey Randall except as otherwise noted. Randall, former Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service, also served as Director of Personnel for the State University System; as Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and as Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. He has an MPA from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University and a J.D. from Albany Law School.