The Third Department, over a two-justice dissent, determined petitioner police officer was not injured in an “accident” within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law, and therefore was not entitled to accidental disability retirement benefits. The officer was injured during Hurricane Sandy when he entered an unstable house to rescue people inside:
For the purposes of Retirement and Social Security Law § 363, an injury that results from “a risk of the work performed” is not an accident … . Consistent with this principle, this Court has long recognized that police officers face many substantial risks in the regular course of their duties that are inherent to the work that they perform… .
According to petitioner, he was considered a first responder to emergency calls and had a duty to assist injured persons. The Uniform Police Officer Job Description that governed petitioner's job confirmed petitioner's testimony to the extent that it dictated that his professional responsibilities included “[a]ssist[ing] any injured persons.” Petitioner acknowledged that, due to the hurricane, his supervisors had impressed upon him that his professional duty extended to responding to emergency calls involving life and limb. Petitioner explained that he answered a call regarding occupants of a house who were trapped due to a tree falling onto and through the home. Petitioner acknowledged that, when he arrived, the home was not a stable structure and debris was still falling, but he explained that he had to go in to help the trapped occupants. Petitioner was thereafter injured while throwing debris off of the trapped occupants and while holding up debris that continued to fall during that rescue effort. Accordingly, a reasonable conclusion to draw from the record is that the threat that compelled petitioner's response as a police officer and first responder — the dangerous condition in the home — was the same threat that ultimately caused petitioner's injuries. Matter of Kelly v DiNapoli, 2016 NY Slip Op 02132, 3rd Dept 3-24-16
RETIREMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY LAW (POLICE OFFICERS INJURY DURING HURRICANE SANDY RESCUE OPERATIONS DID NOT RESULT FROM AN ACCIDENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE RETIREMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY LAW)/POLICE OFFICERS (INJURY DURING HURRICANE SANDY RESCUE OPERATIONS DID NOT RESULT FROM AN ACCIDENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE RETIREMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY LAW)