September 2021 New York  Workers’

Compensation Law Reporter Highlights

Functional capabilities, vocational factors point to 50% LWEC determination

Case Name:  Ehrman v. Center for Discovery, 121 NYWCLR 99 (N.Y. App. Div, 2021).

Ruling: Upon review, the Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s ruling that the claimant sustained a 50 percent loss of wage-earning capacity.

What it means:  Where the claimant had a college degree, is proficient in English, and had been employed full-time for several years, the evidence supports a finding that the claimant sustained a 50 percent loss of wage-earning capacity, even th0ugh the claimant’s specialized certifications are of limited value given she cannot return to her former employment and considering she is almost 68 years old at the time of hearing.

Stressful incident with irate customer doesn’t constitute compensable mental injury

Case Name:  Casey v. United Refining Co. of Pennsylvania, 121 NYWCLR 100 (N.Y. App Div. 2021).

Ruling: In affirming, the Appellate Divison held that substantial evidence support by the Board’s finding that the claimant. a convenience store manager did not suffer a casually related mental injury resulting in anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder following an incident in which she had to eject a customer from the store who was using vulgar language and threaten her with physical harm

What it means:  Having to deal with an irate customer who uses vulgar language and threatens physical violence is not a sufficiently stressful situation to constitute a compensable mental injury for a convenience store manager where, as here, the customer did not physically assault the claimant, possess a weapon or continue in his menacing behavior after he finally left the store.