New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department
General Municipal Law
Correction’s officer injury – Arbitrary and capricious
Transferred from Supreme Court, Onondaga County
Background: The petitioner is a corrections officer employed by the respondent who is seeking to annul a determination denying her benefits following an injury while on duty. The petitioner discovered three laundry bags blocking a hallway. When she moved them, the petitioner felt a pop in her shoulder. The respondent rejected the hearing officer’s recommendation for benefits, noting that the laundry bags constituted a safety hazard.
Ruling: The Appellate Division held that the determination is arbitrary and capricious. The court noted that testimony established that the petitioner’s job and training required her to address safety concerns. She was also under a duty to ensure that laundry bags are not placed on the housing unit floor at any time. The respondent’s testimony noting that corrections officers should order inmates to move laundry bags did not address the location of the laundry bags and the safety hazard posed by bags left in a hallway.
Aaron E. Kaplan, of the Civil Service Employees Association, for the petitioner; Angelo D. Catalano, of Coughlin & Gerhart, for the respondents.