ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS NOT USED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN THE SUMMARIES OF JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL DECISIONS PREPARED BY NYPPL

April 08, 2024

Reviewing the Comptroller's determination denying an application for performance of duty and accidental disability retirement benefits

A police officer [Petitioner] filed applications for performance of duty and accidental disability retirement benefits in June 2014 based upon an incident that occurred on September 22, 2011. Petitioner alleged that he was injured when a rolling chair slammed into the back of a chair in which Petitioner was then seated, resulting in injuries to his back, as well as the development of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Petitioner returned to a light-duty position in January 2012 but stopped working in June 2013. Although the applications were initially denied, ultimately New York State and Local Retirement System [System] conceded that the September 2011 incident constituted an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law, and that the accident caused Petitioner's disability. Following a hearing, however, the Hearing Officer upheld the denials, finding that Petitioner had failed to establish that he was permanently incapacitated from performing the duties of his light-duty assignment. The Comptroller accepted the Hearing Officer's findings and conclusions, resulting in Petitioner initiating a CPLR Article 78 proceeding challenging the Comptroller's decision.

Both parties agreed that the applicable standard is whether Petitioner was capable of performing the duties of his light-duty assignment (see 2 NYCRR 364.3 [b].

Petitioner's expert concluded that Petitioner's psychological condition was permanent and prevents him from returning to any form of police work, including his light-duty assignment. The System's expert, however, concluded that Petitioner was permanently disabled from performing his light-duty position with his  police department, as returning to the location of the incident would trigger his condition, although Petitioner could perform a light-duty assignment elsewhere, provided certain conditions were met.

The Comptroller credited the System's expert and denied Petitioner's applications.

The Appellate Division, observing that the record indicated that there is no assignment available that complies with the limitations described in the testimony of the System's expert in Petitioner's agency, said it was undisputed that Petitioner is permanently incapacitated from performing his light-duty assignment due to his psychological condition. 

Citing Matter of Lipsky v New York State Comptroller, 56 AD3d 1101, the court held that the Comptroller's determination that Petitioner was not permanently incapacitated from performing the duties of his assignment was "not supported by substantial evidence in this record and thus must be annulled."

Click HERE to access the Appellate Divisions decision posted on the Internet.  

CAUTION

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE, OR CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING SUCH MATERIAL, DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
Copyright 2009-2024 - Public Employment Law Press. Email: n467fl@gmail.com