Misrepresentation of work activities costs officer future benefits
Case name: Cartuccio v. New York State Department of Corrections, et al., No. 515892 (N.Y. App. Div. 06/13/13).
The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division held that a correction officer committed fraud and was permanently disqualified from receiving future wage replacement benefits.
What it means: In New York, a worker can be permanently disqualified from receiving future wage replacement benefits if he fails to disclose his employment activities during a period of disability.
Summary: A correction officer for the state experienced work-related stress symptoms. He was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits. The state and its workers' compensation insurer alleged that he knowingly misrepresented his activities as a horse trainer. The officer claimed that "his activities were no more than a therapeutic hobby." The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division held that he violated the workers' compensation law and was permanently disqualified from receiving future wage replacement benefits.
The court found that the officer failed to disclose his work as a horse trainer. He was licensed to train horses and did so during the racing season each year. He worked a part of every day, spent significant sums of money on horses in his care, bought and sold horses, and earned income when horses he trained or owned performed well in races. Despite this "extensive activity," he repeatedly reported to the state that he had not engaged in any paid or unpaid work since his injury.
Although the officer testified that the insurer's staff advised him that he would not have to report his horse training work if he earned less than $10,000 per year doing it, the insurer's witnesses said that they did not give him such advice. The Workers' Compensation Board credited the carrier's witnesses' testimony over the officer's testimony, as it was entitled to do. The court found substantial evidence that the officer violated the workers' compensation law when he misrepresented his work activities.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
October 14, 2013
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