June 2021 New York 
Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter Highlights

Claimant’s feigning range of motion in exam warrants discretionary penalty

Case Name:  New York State Dept. of Corrections, 121 NYWCLR 42 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board 2021).

Ruling: The Full Board found the claimant violated WCL section 114-a(1) and that a mandatory penalty was not warranted, as the claimant did not receive any compensation benefits as a direct result of his misrepresentation. However, due to the serious and egregious nature of that misrepresentation, a discretionary penalty permanently disqualifying the claim from further lost wage benefits was assessed.

What it means:  Feigning the extent of a disability or exaggerating symptoms and injuries constitutes material false representation within the meaning WCL Section 114-a(1) and warrants permanent disqualification of further lost wage benefits.

Claimant successfully proves retirement was not voluntary

Case Name:  Broome DDSO, 121 NYWCLR 44 (N.Y. W.C.B., Panel 2021).

Ruling: In affirming, a Board panel held that WCLJ appropriately found the claimant involuntarily retired from her job with her employer.

What it means:  Where the claimant’s job duties require significant traveling and driving, which aggravated her work-related back pain, and she was restricted from sitting more than two hours per day, sufficient evidence supports a finding that the claimant’s retirement from her job was no voluntary.

Lack of evidence of employment risk nixes benefit claim

Case Name: New York City Transit Authority, 121 NYWCLR 47 (N.Y. W.C.B., Panel 2021).

Ruling:  In denying benefits, a Board panel held that the claimant’s knee injury, sustained while exiting the employer’s building and stepping down a stair, was the result of an idiopathic event and was not work-related.

What it means:  Where the evidence indicates that the claimant had knee symptoms before the work incident, and she did not slip or twist her leg, the claimant’s knee injury while merely stepping down a stair while exiting the employer’s building is an idiopathic event and not related to her employment.