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SFCC Goes Retro

Court Upholds Retroactive Transfer of Liability to Special Fund:


A New York appellate court upheld a decision by the Workers' Compensation Board to transfer a comp carrier's liability to the Special Fund for Reopened Cases retroactive to a date less than seven years after the date of injury even though the court had earlier reversed the board for having ordered the same transfer of liability.

Case: Matter of Canfora v. Goldman Sachs Group, No. 515529, 10/03/2013, published.

Facts: Barbara Canfora suffered a compensable work-related injury on May 2, 2001. In May 2008, her employer's comp carrier requested that liability be transferred to the Special Fund for Reopened Cases pursuant to Workers' Compensation Law Section 25-a.

The statute allows an employer or carrier to transfer liability for a claim after the passage of seven years from the date of the injury, and a lapse of three years from the date of the last payment of compensation.

Procedural History: The Workers' Compensation Board transferred liability to the Special Fund retroactively, with an effective date of May 30, 2006.

The Appellate Division’s 3rd Department reversed the Board's determination and remitted the matter for reconsideration, citing the Board's failure to follow a prior decision which stated that liability may not transfer to the Special Fund until the first day after the seven-year limit set forth in Section 25-a.

Upon remittal, the Board again determined that liability transferred to the Special Fund on May 30, 2006, concluding that Section 25-1 does not preclude a transfer of liability retroactive to a period of time prior to the lapse of seven years after the underlying injury.

Analysis: The Appellate Division's 3rd Department noted that there is no statutory requirement that there be a seven-year lapse from the date of a claimant's injury prior to the date of a retroactive transfer of liability, and said the Board was free to alter a course previously set out in its decisions as long as it explained its reasons for doing so.

Since the Board, on remittal, had provided an explanation for no longer following its earlier decisions regarding when liability can transfer, the Appellate Division said it would let the Board's decision stand.

Disposition: Affirmed.

To read the decision, click here.

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