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In the Matter of the Claim of v. New York State Comptroller et al

State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department


February 9, 2012

IN THE MATTER OF THE CLAIM OF JOHN RYKALA, PETITIONER,
v.
NEW YORK STATE COMPTROLLER ET AL., RESPONDENTS.

MEMORANDUM AND JUDGMENT

Calendar Date: January 13, 2012

Before: Mercure, Acting P.J., Peters, Malone Jr., Kavanagh and McCarthy, JJ.

Proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78 (transferred to this Court by order of the Supreme Court, entered in Albany County) to review a determination of respondent Comptroller denying petitioner's request for accidental disability retirement benefits.

Petitioner, a court officer, sustained injuries when he fell after his foot became entangled in a file cart while he was attempting to remove an unruly prisoner from the courtroom. Petitioner subsequently applied for accidental disability retirement benefits. Following a hearing, a Hearing Officer denied the application, finding that the incident did not constitute an accident within the meaning of Retirement and Social Security Law § 605-a. Respondent Comptroller adopted the Hearing Officer's findings and this CPLR article 78 proceeding ensued.

"For purposes of accidental disability retirement benefits, the underlying accident must be a sudden, fortuitous, out of the ordinary and unexpected event that does not result from an activity undertaken in the performance of regular or routine employment duties" (Matter of Welsh v New York State Comptroller, 67 AD3d 1167, 1168 [2009], lv denied 14 NY3d 706 [2010] [internal quotation marks and citation omitted]). Here, petitioner acknowledged that his job duties included physically restraining persons causing a disturbance in the courtroom. It is undisputed that petitioner's injuries occurred while he was struggling with an unruly prisoner. Under the circumstances herein, substantial evidence supports the Comptroller's determination and it will not be disturbed (see Matter of Olivera v New York State & Local Employees' Retirement Sys., 82 AD3d 1434, 1434-1435 [2011]; Matter of Silver-Smith v New York State & Local Retirement Sys., 298 AD2d 696, 697 [2002]).

Mercure, Acting P.J., Peters, Malone Jr., Kavanagh and McCarthy, JJ., concur.

ADJUDGED that the determination is confirmed, without costs, and petition dismissed.

ENTER:

Robert D. Mayberger Clerk of the Court

20120209

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