Matter of Richard Benedetto v Thomas DiNapoli, as State Comptroller

This Article 78 appeal was brought about to review a determination of the Comptroller denying petitioner his application for accidental disability retirement benefits. Petitioner was a corrections officer who injured his back in 2004 by falling on stairs in a correctional facility. Following the accident, petitioner did not return to work. In 2005, petitioner applied for accidental disability retirement benefits and was denied. Petitioner then requested a redetermination but the Hearing Officer upheld the denial at his hearing and the Comptroller adopted this decision. Petitioner then commenced this Article 78 proceeding to challenge the determination.

In his report following the accident, petitioner stated that he slipped while escorting a prisoner down stairs to the facility’s basement. Later on, petitioner said that his accident occurred when he slipped on a sheet of ice on the stairs. Regardless of the fact that these two stories were slightly different, the petitioner bore the burden of proving that the injury was accidental and the Comptroller’s decision must be upheld if supported by evidence. The Comptroller has the authority and discretion to determine if the incident was a sudden and extraordinary event not related to the ordinary risks of performing routine duties. In this case the Comptroller determined that the injury was the result of a misstep related to ordinary duties.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court confirmed the determination, without costs, and dismissed the petition.

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