The Third Department, reversing the Workers’ Compensation Board, determined that the Special Fund remained liable for death benefits if the matter had been transferred to the Special Fund before the 2014 closure of the fund. Here the asbestosis case was transferred to the Special Fund in 2011 and the claimant died in 2017:
… [T]he imposition of liability on the Special Fund in this case is not precluded by the statutory amendment [closing the Special Fund], given that liability was transferred to the Special Fund in December 2011, well before the January 1, 2014 closure date. The record does not indicate any violation of the plain language of the statutory sentence at issue. Indeed, the record does not contain a copy of any application by the employer for transfer of liability of a claim to the Special Fund, nor any indication that such an application was filed after January 1, 2014. Thus, the record does not support a finding of a violation of the statute prohibiting the Board from accepting, after the cut-off date, any application by an employer or carrier for transfer of liability of a claim to the Special Fund (see Workers’ Compensation Law § 25-a [1-a]).
This conclusion is supported by our decision in Matter of Misquitta v Getty Petroleum (150 AD3d 1363), which involved a factual situation similar to that presented here. In Misquitta, the decedent had an established workers’ compensation claim that had been transferred to the Special Fund prior to his death and, after his death, his widow filed a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits. While acknowledging that the consequential death claim was separate and distinct from the decedent’s original claim, this Court ruled that “where . . . liability for a claim has already been transferred from the carrier to the Special Fund and the employee thereafter dies for reasons causally related to the original claim, the Special Fund remains liable for the claim for death benefits” … . Matter of Verneau v Consolidated Edison Co. of N.Y., Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 05369, Third Dept 7-3-19