Determining if an employee is eligible for accidental disability retirement benefits
Daquino v DiNapoli, 2018 NY Slip Op 03201, Appellate Division, Third Department
An employee [Petitioner] appealed the Hearing Officer denial of the Petitioner's application on the ground that the incident did not constitute an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law, which decision was adopted by the State Comptroller.
In this action challenging the denial of Petitioner's application for accidental disability retirement benefits on the ground that the incident did not constitute an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law, the Appellate Division said that Petitioner bore the burden of establishing her entitlement to accidental disability retirement benefits and Comptroller's determination will be upheld if supported by substantial evidence. Further, said the court, in order for an incident to constitute an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law, it must be "a sudden, fortuitous mischance, unexpected, out of the ordinary, and injurious in impact."
The State Comptroller had adopted the findings and conclusions of the Hearing Officer, who found that slipping on the water "was a sudden, fortuitous mischance and undoubtedly unexpected and out of the ordinary" but denied benefits based solely upon Petitioner's failure to demonstrate that the water she had slipped on was not readily observable.
Citing a recent decision by the Court of Appeals, Matter of Kelly v DiNapoli (30 NY3d 674, in which that court stated that "the requirement that a petitioner demonstrate that a condition was not readily observable in order to demonstrate an 'accident' is inconsistent with our prior case law," the Appellate Division annulled the Comptroller determination, explaining that "substantial evidence does not support the determination that the incident was not an accident."
The decision is posted on the Internet at: