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November 05, 2015

An applicant for §207-c of the General Municipal Law disability benefits must show that the disability was directly caused by a job-related illness or injury


An applicant for §207-c of the General Municipal Law disability benefits must show that the disability was directly caused by a job-related illness or injury
Caulkins v Town of Pound Ridge, 2015 NY Slip Op 07655, Appellate Division, Second Department

§207-c of the General Municipal Law provides for the payment of “salary, wages, medical and hospital expenses” of law enforcement personnel disabled as the result of injuries or illness incurred in the performance of their official duties. In order to be eligible for disability benefits pursuant to §207-c, however, the employee must "prove a direct causal relationship between job duties and the resulting illness or injury."*

Tammy Caulkins, a Town employee, was receiving §207-c disability benefits. A hearing officer found that Caulkins' disability was not related to a line-of-duty injury that Caulkins had suffered in October 2008. The Town Board of the Town of Pound Ridge adopted the findings of the hearing officer, made after a hearing, and discontinued Caulkins §207-c disability benefits.

Caulkins sued the Town seeking a court order directing the Town Board to reinstate her §207-c benefits. Supreme Court denied her petition, which ruling was affirmed by the Appellate Division.

The Appellate Division said that judicial review of an administrative determination made after a hearing required by law at which evidence is taken is limited to whether the determination is supported by substantial evidence, explaining that substantial evidence consists of "such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact."

In this instance the Appellate Division found that Caulkins did not sustain her burden of demonstrating that her disability was the direct result of her October 2008 “on-the-job” injury and substantial evidence supported the hearing officer's determination that her current disability was not causally related to the on-the-job injuries she had suffered October 2008.

* A firefighter seeking benefits pursuant to §207-a of the General Municipal Law must also "prove a direct causal relationship between job duties and the resulting illness or injury" in order to be eligible for such disability benefits.

The decision is 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 addressing disability and similar leaves absence. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html
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