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March 27, 2023

Applicant for accidental disability retirement benefits has the burden of showing the claimed disability was causally connected to the alleged line of duty injury

Plaintiff challenged the Board of Trustees of the New York City Police Pension Fund [Trustees] denial of her application for accidental disability retirement benefits. The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the Trustees' decision,  dismissing Plaintiff's CPLR Article 78 petition.

The court said that the Trustees' determination that "there was no causal connection" between Plaintiff' line of duty injury and her disability was supported by credible evidence. The Appellate Division then observed that the Pension Fund's Medical Board recommended that Plaintiff receive ordinary disability retirement benefits rather than accidental disability retirement benefits.

The Appellate Division's decision noted that Plaintiff "was on full duty" for most of the period after experiencing her line of duty injury; had qualified with a firearm until her service retirement; and her "subjective complaints did not match the objective medical findings."

Further, said the court, although Plaintiff's surgeon stated that her disability resulted from a work-related accident, the Trustees' Medical Board disagreed, and conflicts in the evidence are to be resolved solely by the Medical Board and the Trustees.

Click HERE to access the text of the Appellate Division's decision posted on the Internet.

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