Medical Board Being Held to Higher Standard
-Hayes v. The Board of Trustees of the New York City Fire Department, Civil Index No. 24429/05 (Kings Sup. Ct. May 18, 2006)
In a recent case, a firefighter, who injured his elbow, hip, neck, and back when he fell while on the job, was denied a disability pension by the FDNY. Thereafter, the firefighter petitioned the state to have the FDNY reevaluate his application. In a sixteen page decision, the Honorable Lawrence Knipel sent the disability pension application back to the FDNY �for further review and findings with regard to the relevant medical evidence.� Justice Knipel held that:
Although the Medical Board is authorized to weigh the medical evidence and reconcile disputes with regard to the same, it is appropriate to remand the matter to the Medical Board for further review where the Medical Board�s finding is conclusory or not adequately explained in light of the medical evidence adduced (see generally Matter of Meyer v Board of Trustees, 90 NY2d 139 ; Matter of Rodriguez v Board of Trustees, 3 AD3d 501 ).
This decision outlines the higher standard which the Medical Board is to be held to. It is not adequate to simply list evidence supportive of an application and state a decision that contradicts it. Not only must there be some credible evidence, the evidence must be thoroughly explained and rationalized.
Suits Over 9/11 Illness
-As reported in Newsday, on April 26, 2006
Nine separate federal lawsuits were filed on the behalf of firefighters who were denied disability pensions after developing 9/11 related breathing problems. All nine were apart of the September 11th rescue and recovery efforts. The firefighters� attorney, Eric Sanders of Jeffrey L. Goldberg, P.C. said, �Not only did private doctors link the firefighters� ailments to the rescue and recovery work at ground Zero, the department�s own physicians did as well.� However, despite the fact that most of the men are not allowed to work full duty and have been confined to desk jobs because of their respiratory ailments, they have all been denied disability pensions. Robert Ryan, a firefighter for 22 years, summed up the lawsuit�s purpose perfectly when he was quoted as saying, �I wanted to work as long as I possible could. All of us gave 150 percent on Sept. 11. They need to do the right thing by us.�
In the Interest of Justice, Judge Orders New Review for Pension Application
-Campbell v. The Board of Trustees of the New York City Fire Department, Civil Index No. 22689/05 (Kings Sup. Ct. April 26, 2006)
In the Campbell, a FDNY lieutenant with a disabling ankle condition, who was denied an accident disability pension, petitioned the State, for a second time, to order the Fire Department to reevaluate his application, this time using the appropriate legal standards of review. Lt. Campbell had his application sent back by the courts once before but again the Fire Department failed to meet their legal obligations. In a decision dated April 26, 2006, the Honorable Bernadette F. Bayne of Supreme Court of the State of New York, Kings County granted Firefighter Campbell said review. Justice Bayne stated:
the Court is troubled by a few items� the Court believed it was fairly clear as to what it was requesting of the Board� the Court also expected that based upon the medical proof previously held by the Committee and the Medical Board and the testimony provided by the experts, that the Medical Board could therefore issue a more detailed report� Therefore, in the interests of fairness to the Medical Board and to the petitioner after twenty years of service to the community, this Court hereby sends this petition back for a second time for the specific reasons outlined above to the Medical Board for the medical review detailed herein.
Wants Case Reviewed � Judge: P.D. Pension Decision Irrational
-As reported in The Chief-Leader, on January 6, 2006
Justice Paul G. Feinman of the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that the NYPD�s pension board must reexamine a disability claim filed by Police Officer Andrew Kohut. Mr. Kohut experienced three serious line-of-duty injuries during his 22 year career with the NYPD however, while the pension board suggested the retired Police Officer may need back surgery they did not find Mr. Kohut disabled from full-duty police work. The pension board had claimed that Mr. Kohut�s back and knee injuries, stemming from a fall during a roof-top chase in 1983, a blow to the knee while making an arrest in 1982, and another fall during a chase in 1996, were minimal and that Mr. Kohut was exaggerating his symptoms during a Medical Board physical examination in January 2004. Jeffrey L. Goldberg, Mr. Kohut�s attorney has said, �They are picking and choosing what they want to select. They can�t ignore the evidence.� Justice Feinman agreed in his decision. He ruled that the pension board�s ruling appeared �arbitrary and capricious and not based on the credible objective testing of [Mr. Kohut�s] condition.� The Justice went on to say that perhaps the pension board needed only to further explain their reasoning but as it stands their opinion contradicts the obvious evidence.
Five Cops Sue the NYPD over Mandatory Rehab
-As reported in The Daily News, on December 28, 2005
It is illegal to force employees into counseling against their will but that is exactly what the NYPD is doing. Four active-duty cops and one retired cop, with their lawyer Eric Sanders of the law firm of Jeffrey Goldberg in Lake Success, L.I., have filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD. All five plaintiffs were ordered to enter a 28-day residential rehab program after involvement in off-duty disputes that were allegedly alcohol related and in which none were arrested. One plaintiff, Detective Robert McNamara was involved in a dispute with his wife in which Suffolk County police came to his home. McNamara claims he had two to three beers after the incident and that NYPD captain who was called to the scene found him sober. After refusing to join Alcoholics Anonymous, due to problems with the group�s religious references, Detective McNamara was then found guilty at an NYPD administrative trail and docked 30 days� pay. McNamara said, �It�s an embarrassment to my character they�ve done this to me.� The NYPD responded to the suit by saying that it is the Police Department�s responsibility to assure that cops with alcohol problems obtain treatment before returning to full duty.
Former worker alleges ConEd fired him when he reported illegal dumping
-As reported in Newsday, on December 16, 2005
In a suit filed April 2005, Randy Walter of Hicksville alleges that during his 25 years at Con Edison he was the target of an anti-Semitic campaign and was fired after complaining about illegal dumping of hydraulic fuel oil into the Flushing River, orders to improperly clean ducts, instructions to dispose of hazardous waste inside manholes, and the illegal sale of cigarettes at the workplace. In a recent interview Mr. Walter stated, "I had had cancer, so you can image how sensitive I was to this type of stuff ... so I complained about the illegal cigarettes and how we were being ordered to dispose of hazardous materials in the manholes. From there, things went downhill. I was harassed and called names in the locker room." While a spokesman of Con Edison declined to comment on personnel issues, Randy Walter was purportedly fired for discrepancies in time-sheet reporting. Eric Sanders, Randy Walter�s attorney claims that other employees who were found to be doing the same things to time sheets as Mr. Walter were kept on the job. Mr. Walter admits that he was changing company time sheets but said it was standard practice at Con Edison. Mr. Sanders said, �This is a simple case about a whistleblower exposing environmental hazards and being wrongfully terminated.� The EPA is looking into Randy Walters accusations.
Ex-Cop With AIDS Sues City
-As reported in The Daily News and Newsday, on December 9, 2005
A former New York City transit cop did her duty when arresting a violent suspect in 1996. During the arrest a struggle broke out and the then transit cop was bitten on the hand and punched in both of her eyes. In 1999 a routine blood test showed she had HIV. Eric Sanders, the retired transit cop�s attorney, pointed out that under city law any police officer who contracts HIV while on the job is presumed to have gotten the disease in the line of duty. Mr. Sanders filed a suit for �Jane Doe,� who has not yet told her two children about her illness, and had her case sent back to the medical board after Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Rolando Acosta ruled that there was enough evidence to presume she contracted the illness on the job and that the medical boards earlier determination that she probably contracted HIV through heterosexual conduct was, �totally irrational, arbitrary and capricious.� �Jane Doe,� who was awarded an ordinary pension, which is much less lucrative then a disability pension, pointed out that other police officers with HIV have been approved for their disability pensions but they have all been male while she is a Latina female, �the question of what happened in their personal lives never comes up. I was injured on the job.� The ex-transit cop, who now suffers from full blown AIDS hopes to win her disability pension not only for her children and to help pay for her expensive medications, but also to set a precedent for other cops who put their lives on the line, �The public has a duty to protect the people who protect them.�
Fired Cop Sues Over Phobia Rap
-As reported in The Daily News, on November 3, 2005
Rachel Rodriguez rides an elevator up to her apartment in a high rise building every day and was once a flight attendant; however, she was dismissed from the Police Academy based on what she claims are false accusations that she suffers from claustrophobia. The claustrophobia accusations stem from a training workshop on November 19, 2003 at which she asked a security guard where to find the stairs, when she did not wish to ride the elevator with a classmate she had previously argued with. Despite her eventually riding the elevator with her classmates, someone reported to Ms. Rodriguez�s supervisor she experienced a panic attack on the ride up. Ms. Rodriguez claims nothing happened in the elevator and she is adamant that small places have never bothered her. Yet, an NYPD psychologist accused her of hiding her supposed mental condition. Now Rachel Rodriguez is suing the NYPD for improperly dismissing her. Her lawyer, Jeffery Goldberg says the lawsuit will seek protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act because the NYPD �perceives she suffers from a disability � even though she does not,� and acted in a manner which violated her civil rights.
9\11 �Disabilities� Rejected: Ill Firefighters Rap FDNY Medical Board
-As reported in The Chief-Leader and The Daily News
Jeffery L. Goldberg, Esq. is preparing a lawsuit on behalf of 30 active and retired firefighters who survived 9/11. Deemed too sick to fight fires by FDNY doctors, but found not ill enough to receive disability pensions, these firefighters are stuck working desk jobs and in a legal limbo. This class action suit is asking the FDNY 1-B Pension Fund, to grant these men the line of duty disability pensions to which they are entitled. This situation seems to have been created when the Pension Fund�s medical board changed the standard for lung disability. Before 2003, if a firefighter flunked the Methacholine challenge test they would be awarded disability pension; now, firefighters attempting to receive disability pension are given a pulmonary function test. The pulmonary function requires the firefighters to take the risk of going off their medicine and the test does not check for asthma or �reactive airway condition,� the conditions that affect many of these firefighters. Retired Fire Lt. Brendan Whalen, a 9/11 first responder, who was forced to work behind a desk for two years before taking his 20 year service pension because FDNY doctors would not return him to full duty, had failed several Methacholine challenges, but was nevertheless denied a disability pension. He put it best when he stated, while discussing the medical board�s request for him to go off his medications, �They want me to go in distress and see the fluid build up in my lungs. Do you take a diabetic off insulin to see if they�re still diabetic? I sat and cried in that doctor�s office because I saw my career go out the window.�
Judge: Firefighter Got Burned Twice
-As reported in The Chief-Leader, on October 28, 2005
Mr. William Russell was badly burned when a ceiling collapsed while he fought a Bronx fire on January 1, 2000. He had continued to advance against the spreading flames protecting his fellow firefighters despite the severe burns that covered both his legs. His burns kept him in the hospital for two weeks, required further skin graft surgeries, and a year of recuperation. Mr. Russell�s skin grafted legs were weaker and had much thinner than normal skin; he had to return to the hospital several times when the skin on his shins broke. Multiple burn specialists said that Mr. Russell should never again fight fires. During his recovery, Mr. Russell was deemed unfit for full duty and applied for his three-quarter, tax-free LOD pension. The Board in charge of reviewing and deciding pension cases sent Mr. Russell to a supposed impartial specialist, but instead of a burn specialist Mr. Russell was sent to a plastic surgeon, which deemed Mr. Russell�s legs ready for the rigors of fighting fires. Despite the overwhelming amount of contrary evidence from personal doctors and hospital records Mr. Russell was denied disability pension on three different occasions. Eventually, Mr. Russell requested to return to full duty, preferring to fight fires than sit behind a desk despite his limitations. He was sent back to the plastic surgeon who had originally said he was not permanently disabled; however, the doctor did not feel comfortable saying he was fit for full-duty firefighting. Again Mr. Russell�s application for disability retirement benefits was entered and subsequently denied. At this time Mr. Russell�s lawyers from the office of Jeffrey L. Goldberg, P.C. went to court and on October 11, 2005 Judge Hinds-Radix stated that she found more than adequate grounds to overturn the pension denial and chastised the board for sending Mr. Russell to a plastic surgeon instead of a burn specialist. Mr. Russell�s case was remanded for further review and reconsideration by the Medical Board and the Fire Department�s Board of Trustees.
Ranting Cop Fired: Officer Behind Explosive Internet Bulletin Board Gets The Ax
-As reported in The New York Times, The Daily News (Cover Story), Newsday, The Long Island Press, Taipei Times, Reuters, Unknown News, SpeakSpeak News, NBC, The Sidney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Age, Wired, CBS, The Times, NY 1, WebIndia123.com, The Independent Online, 1010 Wins, The Associated Press, and RedNova.com
Police Officer Edward Polstein, an 18 year veteran of the NYPD, built the NYPD Rant website in 1999 as a way to let out his feelings about being passed over for promotions. NYPD Rant quickly became a place for other cops to vent; cops rant about the mayor, the commissioner, the union, the perpetrators, and anything else that might frustrate them. A specialist in spotting concealed weapons, Mr. Polstein proved how easy it was to get weapons into the supposedly secure building during a post 9/11 visit to police headquarters. He flashed a phony police ID and walked straight through security carrying a gym bag full of mock weapons. Mr. Polstein then revealed what he had done to the sergeant on duty and offered to help with training. Mr. Polstein heard nothing of his ruse and offer to help until he was charged by the Internal Affairs Bureau with, �posting �language and remarks� that were discourteous to police brass and elected officials, describing in the site how he �smuggled� weapons into headquarters, and using the NYPD logo on the site without permission.� Both Mr. Polstein and his lawyer Jeffrey Goldberg believe that the website is covered by his constitutional right of free speech. However, Mr. Polstein was convicted of all three charges but was allowed to retired if he promised not to sue the NYPD. After receiving his tax-free disability pension for a wrist injury, Mr. Polstein was judged to be in violation of the settlement and was fired retroactively, due to his perusal of his disability pension. Being fired made him ineligible for his pension. A complaint has been filed by Jeffrey Goldberg stating that Mr. Polstein is the victim of retaliation and reverse discrimination.
Cop: Sgt. Harasses Me, NYPD No Help
-As reported in The Daily News on April 21, 2005
Police Officer Aneta Kwiatkowski has filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD and Sgt. John Dorst for damages and for the Sergeant�s reassignment. She contends that Sgt. Dorst torments her by attempting to kiss her, reaching up her pants leg, demanding sex, and leaving her sexually crude phone messages and the NYPD has done little to help the situation. Officer Kwiatkowski and Sgt. Dorst work together at the 113th Precinct in Queens. More than a year ago Officer Kwiatkowski filed charges with the NYPD office of equal employment opportunity. Her claims that Sgt. Dorst made �numerous sexually inappropriate statements� and �requests for sexual favors,� as well as repeatedly touched her leg in an inappropriate manner, were found to be substantiated. As a result, Sgt. Dorst has been hit with departmental charges and faces a trial, but has yet to be moved to another precinct. Eric Sanders, Officer Aneta Kwiatkowski�s attorney from the law firm of Jeffrey L. Goldberg P.C., said that Sgt. Dorst was getting special treatment because of his high ranking position in the Sergeants Benevolent Association and the Department�s actions were, �send[ing] a particularly bad message.� Both the NYPD and the city Law Department declined to comment on the situation.
9/11 Hero Cop (And Iraq War Veteran), Claims �I Was Targeted�
-As reported in New York Newsday on February 15, 2005
Police Officer Howard Henderson, an African-American officer, September 11th hero and veteran of the war in Iraq, claims racism motivated an almost five (5) year internal affairs corruption probe, which violated his and his family�s civil rights. Officer Henderson has filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint against the NYPD, charging he unknowingly became the subject of a department investigation related to his alleged involvement with the Third World Crew, a South Jamaica drug gang. During the probe, the officer has been passed over for job assignments, modified, and suspended. Also, he, his family and friends had their cellular and home telephone records illegally searched and seized by the Department. Officer Henderson�s attorney Eric Sanders of the law firm of Jeffrey Goldberg, reports that his client should have been cleared of all charges when one of the undercover officers assigned to investigate the Third World Crew, former Detective Winston White, was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in Federal prison for conspiring to distribute marihuana for Texas to New York. Sanders reports, �it was their own investigation that shows my client, nor his family, did anything illegal, but yet they spent five (5) years dumping their phone records and harassing his family.� The Department continues to internally prosecute Officer Henderson for knowingly associating with criminals.
Former Female Indian Officer, Sues NYPD For Discrimination
-As reported in The Daily News on February 8, 2005 (Cover story)
Lisa Hazamoon Cahill (33), a former NYPD police officer, is suing the NYPD in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York for employment discrimination. Cahill, who was one of two officers of Indian descent in the Department, reported being forced to �wash and iron� the shirts of her supervisor Sergeant Salvatore Rufolo, while on duty at Police Headquarters. Her Attorney, Eric Sanders of the law firm of Jeffrey L. Goldberg, says �forcing a cop to do laundry is sexist behavior that sets the NYPD back centuries.� Cahill also charges that Sergeant Rufolo was abusive to a black cop in the security unit, he asked him to �act like a monkey and make animal noises.� �I was standing there mortified. I am a person of color too and it kind of reminded me of the movie Deliverance.� She retired in 2003 when the discrimination made her work environment intolerable. Cahill, an expert in X-ray screening for weapons and explosives, had registered complaints about the discrimination to Internal Affairs Chief Charles Campisi, who failed to investigate her allegations. .
NYPD Refuses Pensions to Officers Psychologically Disabled As A Result Of 9/11
-As reported in New York Post on January 6, 2005
A 35 five year old NYPD police officer experiences a panic attack and burst into tears and must leave the room while discussing the events of 9/11. The man, referred to in court papers as John Doe filed by his attorney, Jeffrey L. Goldberg, is one of many officers currently suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or commonly known as PTSD, as well as other psychological illnesses as a result of their 9/11 experiences, and are now fighting for a � disability pension. Mr. Goldberg reports that �the NYPD and Police Pension Fund refuse to acknowledge the link between the World Trade Center disaster and the officers� conditions.� Police Commissioner responded to the crisis by offering cops access to mental-health services such as the POPPA program (Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance). The first seven (7) officers to apply for a 9/11 related psychological disability pension, were awarded a � pension. But since the initial awards, not a single member since has been awarded a � pension and the POPPA is being secretly disbanded. Officers like Joe McAdams and Chris Doran, also Goldberg clients, tell of smelling death for weeks at Ground Zero and of shoveling through body parts, and report crying for days with suicidal thoughts, constant fear and separation from their families and the inability to perform police work. Dr. Gregory Fried, former NYPD executive chief surgeon who was critically injured at 9/11, now a Goldberg consultant, indicates the pension doctors cannot reasonably make determinations based on half hour interviews of applicants, and fears for the message the department is sending by denying many psychologically disabled officers.
Minority NYPD Officer Harassed For Years Following DWI Arrest of Female Off-Duty Officer
-As reported in The Daily News and The Queens Chronicle
Over the last four years, NYPD Police Officer Ricardo Richards, a native of Barbados, has been threatened harassed and accosted by his fellow officers, since arresting a popular white female officer for off-duty drunk driving. Richards was a rookie at the time. Following that incident Richards has had his nose broken while off-duty by fellow officers, was threatened with death, has been ignored, transferred, received unfounded departmental charges, and now finds himself facing a departmental trial for allegedly reading the newspaper while assigned to the telephone switchboard of his Queens precinct. Attorney Eric Sanders of The Law Office of Jeffrey L. Goldberg, P.C., reports that this is the latest in a long line of discriminatory and retaliatory acts by the NYPD and its personnel. Jeffrey L. Goldberg,, P.C., is defending Officer Richards against the departmental charges and is preparing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD on his behalf.
The Law Office of Jeffrey L. Goldberg, P.C., Co-Counsel in 9/11 Class Action Suit For Sick Volunteer and Emergency Service Workers
-As posted in November 2004, on the Uniformed EMT�s and Paramedics of the FDNY Local 2507 website. http://www.homestead.com/local2507/files/WTC911/911_Lawsuit.html
Workers and family members who have become sick following September 11, 2001, may have a chance to recover for their injuries. Individuals present at the World Trade Center site, the Fresh Kills Landfill, the New York City Medical Examiner�s Office, or in and around the barges loading or unloading debris from the sites, have been exposed to many toxic substances which may cause affected persons to experience physical ailments. Jeffrey L. Goldberg, P.C., is co-counsel to a team of lawyers attempting to recover on behalf of those individuals who may become sick as a result of their exposures. There are very short time limits that must be observed if one hopes to preserve a claim. If interested, individuals may contact Jeffrey L. Goldberg, P.C., for information and to obtain an application to file a claim.
A Court Victory For A Firefighter With A Bad Ankle Seeking 3/4's Disability Pension
-As reported in The Chief-Leader on September 24, 2004.
A state judge ordered the Fire Pension Fund to reconsider the application of a veteran firefighter who sought a disability pension based on a bad ankle. Lieutenant Gerard Campbell is seeking an accident disability pension for an ankle condition he claims is the result of several line-of-duty accidents. The Fire Pension Fund awarded Campbell a lesser half-pay pension. Campbell is represented by The Law Office of Jeffrey L. Goldberg, P.C. Supreme Court Justice Bernadette Bayne ruled that the pension board�s members failed to explain how they had accounted for the evidence before them. The application has been sent back by the Court to the Fire Pension Fund�s Medical Board so that the firefighter�s request for a pension upgrade can be considered.
Cop Gets 75 Percent Tax-Free Pension For Pothole Trip
-As reported by The Chief-Leader on September 3, 2004.
A state Judge has ruled that Police Officer Albert Siciliano, who tripped over a pothole while walking to his patrol car, is entitled to a 3/4's accident disability retirement pension. The Police Pension Fund�s Board of Trustees found that the officer�s knee injury was the result of "his own misstep", and thus Siciliano was only entitled to an ordinary disability pension. The officer�s attorney, Jeffrey L. Goldberg, successfully argued that the occurrence was an "accident" within the meaning of the pension law, and thus warranted an award of the higher pension.
Court Renews Disability Pension Bid For Fire Lieutenant With Hypertension and Back Pain
-As reported in The Chief-Leader.
A Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge has ruled that the Fire Pension Board improperly denied a veteran Fire Lieutenant�s request for an accident disability pension by ignoring his high blood pressure and rejecting his claim of job-related lower back pain. Lieutenant Harry Wannamaker�s attorney Jeffrey L. Goldberg, successfully argued that Wannamaker�s chronic high blood pressure could have been the result of the stress of the job, which would merit a 3/4's line-of duty disability pension. Moreover, the Court found the Medical Board as well as the Board of Trustees failed to properly consider evidence of the connection between Wannamaker�s multiple on the job back injuries, and his current back problems. Wannamaker was retired by the Pension Fund on an ordinary disability pension. His application has now been sent back for a proper review.
NYPD Member Who Suffered Heart Attack After Retiring Receives Accident Disability Pension
-As reported in The Chief-Leader on August 28, 2004.
Detective Stephanie Rich retired from the NYPD in February 2000, at age 47. At that time she complained of shortness of breath that left her unable to climb stairs or walk more than a city block. The Detective requested a pension under the state law known as the heart bill, which would provide her a tax-free pension worth 75 percent of her final salary. The NYPD wanted to retire her with an ordinary disability pension, a taxable benefit worth half her annual salary but the Police Pension Fund�s Medical Board found her not disabled. On February 16, 2001, Rich suffered a severe heart attack that nearly killed her. Thereafter her attorney Jeffrey L. Goldberg, was victorious in the Manhattan Supreme Court, and Rich�s pension application was remanded to the Police Pension Fund for further consideration. The former detective�s application was quietly scheduled for review this month, and the board approved it without asking for additional medial evidence.
A Police Officer Who Suffered A Heart Attack After Retiring Is Eligible For Higher Pension
-As reported on by The Chief-Leader on July 30, 2004.
A former NYPD Detective who suffered a heart attack a year after retiring from the Police Department may be eligible for a higher-paying pension, according to the Manhattan Supreme Court. The Police Pension Fund was ordered to reconsider Stefanie Rich's application for an accidental disability pension, based on the former NYPD Detective's diagnosis of coronary artery disease following her February 2001 heart attack. Rich�s attorney Jeffrey L. Goldberg, successfully petitioned the Court and the retired Detective has been cleared to receive a larger pension under the state�s "heart bill". Under the heart bill, an officer�s heart disease is presumed to have resulted from the stress of the job unless the city can prove otherwise. The Pension Fund�s trustees contended that Ms. Rich was ineligible for the benefit because at the time she retired, she hadn�t shown signs of being disabled by the arterial blockage that later contributed to her attack.
Judge Issues Scathing Decision Against NYPD For Treatment of AIDS Cop
-As reported in New York Law Journal, The Associated Press, The Daily News and The New York Post in July 2004.
A Manhattan Judge ordered the Police Pension Fund�s medical board to rethink its "irrational" and "perplexing" decision to a deny disability benefits to a female police officer who contracted the AIDS virus while on the job. In his strongly worded decision, Justice Acosta found, "the board�s decision not only robs the city�s finest of her dignity, but ignores the reality reflected in the officer�s diagnosis." Jane Doe�s (identity withheld) attorney, Jeffrey L. Goldberg, said his client has full blown AIDS and her condition continues to deteriorate. The Pension fund denied both the officer�s accident disability application as well as the ordinary disability application submitted by the department on her behalf. In his decision the Judge said city law provides that a police officer who contracts HIV is presumed to have done so in the performance of his or her duties, thus entitling them to a line-of-duty pension.
Judge Blasts NYPD For Treatment of Corruption Fighting Cop
-As reported in The New York Post and The Chief-Leader in April 2004.
A former NYPD Detective who endured years of abuse from fellow cops after exposing high level corruption in the Police Department was unfairly denied a high-paying pension, a state judge has ruled.
In a blistering decision, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Louis York said the Police Pension Fund and its Medical Board subjected former Detective Jeffrey W. Baird to a "death of a thousand cuts" by repeatedly rejecting his request for an accidental disability pension without explanation. And added, "he should be lauded for this courage rather than destroyed by the system whose integrity he sought to preserve." The Detective sought the higher pension in 1998 based on his doctor's diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. He claimed his illness resulted from being ostracized and harassed by his colleagues following his undercover work for the Mollen Commission on police corruption. Mr. Baird was forcibly retired with an ordinary disability pension in October 2002. Mr. Baird's union, didn't look out for him, charged Jeffrey Goldberg, the Detective's attorney. Goldberg added, "no one was looking from the union side, and the city doesn't look to upgrade anybody." City attorney�s claimed Baird is not entitled to accident disability retirement. Justice York remanded the decision to the Police Pension Fund for another review.
NYCERS Misreads Statute In Evaluating EMS Worker With AIDS 3/4 Pension Application
-As reported in The Chief-Leader.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Martin Schneier determined the New York City Employees� Retirement System acted improperly when it denied an accident disability pension to an Emergency Medical Technician with AIDS. NYCERS the Court ruled misinterpreted state law which provides that an EMT who contracts HIV, tuberculosis or Hepatitis while in city service, is presumed to have done so as a result of an accidental injury on the job. The medical board in this case, mishandled the accident disability application of Mr. Seymour Collins, who is represented by Mr. Jeffrey L. Goldberg. The Court found NYCERS decision to deny Collins a three-quarters pension to be "arbitrary and capricious" and remanded the application back for further proceedings.