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State: NY


Prison Guard Not Entitled to Duty Disability Retirement Benefits:


A prison guard injured while subduing an inmate who had attacked another guard was not entitled to performance of duty disability retirement benefits.


Case: O'Shaughnessy v. New York State Comptroller, No. 515468, 04/11/2013, published.


Facts: John O'Shaughnessy, a corrections officer, suffered injuries at work in 2006 while subduing an inmate who attacked another officer.


O'Shaughnessy attempted to return to work at full duty, but he continued to have pain and lost time, and he eventually went on light duty. O'Shaughnessy then filed an application for performance of duty disability retirement benefits.


Procedural History: A hearing officer denied his application, and the New York state comptroller upheld this decision.


Analysis: The Appellate Division's 3rd Department explained that O'Shaughnessy had to establish that he was permanently incapacitated from performing his job duties as a correction officer at the time he filed his application in order to be eligible for performance of duty disability retirement benefits.


The court noted that O'Shaughnessy's treating doctor testified that O'Shaughnessy had pain and permanent loss of range of motion in his neck and low back which prevented him from performing his job duties. By contrast, a physician who examined petitioner and reviewed the relevant medical records on behalf of respondent New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System testified that, at the time of his examination, O'Shaughnessy did not appear to have any disability rendering him unable to perform the regular duties of a correction officer.


The court said it was for the comptroller to resolve this conflict in medical evidence, and the comptroller acted reasonably in crediting the retirement system's expert.


Disposition: Affirmed.


To read the decision, click here.


Source: WorkCompCentral

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