Matter of Meyer v. New York State Comptroller
Petitioner, a police officer, brought about an Article 78 proceeding to review determination by Respondent, Comptroller, that denied petitioner accidental disability retirement benefits (ADR).
Petitioner alleged that she was injured due to multiple workplace accidents. A Hearing Officer determined that none of the incidents were accidents under Retirement and Social Security Law and denied Petitioner ADR. Thereafter, the Article 78 proceeding was commenced.
An accident under Retirement and Social Security Law is “a sudden, fortuitous mischance that is unexpected and not within the “ordinary risks of employment. An injury occurring as the result of the petitioner’s own misstep or inattention does not constitute an accident so as to qualify for benefits in accord with the provisions of this law.”
In the first incident the court upheld the Comptroller’s decision. As for the second, the Court found the determination lacked substantial evidence. Petitioner stated that she was sitting in an office chair with wheels when the chair slipped out from underneath her. Her coworkers then found the “wheel of the chair bent and defective.” The chair was then sent for repair. The Hearing Officer did not address the uncontroverted testimony about the chair and the Third Department ruled the incident to be a qualifying accident under the law
The court found that the second incident did constitute an accident and the matter remitted to Respondent for further proceedings.