Matter of Paul Mazzotte v Thomas DiNapoli, as State Comptroller
Petitioner was a correction officer for over 20 years. In 2001, he applied for performance of duty disability retirement benefits alleging he was permanently disabled by coronary artery disease (CAD) after having coronary artery bypass surgery. According to petitioner, the disease was caused by the stress of his employment duties which included dealing with inmate riots, threats, attacks, and administrative pressures. Petitioner was found to be permanently disabled but his petition was denied on the ground that his disability was not due to performance of duties. The Hearing Officer determined petitioner’s disability was congenital and denied his application for performance of duty disability retirement benefits. The respondent accepted this determination and petitioner commenced this Article 78 appeal to annul the determination.
The petitioner contended that the Hearing Officer’s decision contained significant factual errors such as stating that petitioner had high blood pressure and diabetes with no evidence to support this finding. Additionally, the decision indicated that an expert physician testified regarding his 2001 examination which is false. The physician never testified but only submitted a written report. Due to these factual errors, the Court ruled that respondent failed to present an adequate or accurate statement of the factual basis of its determination and therefore the determination must be annulled.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court annulled the determination, without costs, and remitted the matter to respondent for further proceedings.
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