The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court upheld a decision by the state Workers’ Compensation Board that a woman whose husband died of Covid-19 failed to prove the virus was contracted at the workplace.
The appeals court said Thursday that the board was correct in overturning a judge’s decision that found the man’s death was causally related to his employment.
The worker’s widow had filed a workers’ compensation claim for death benefits after her husband died of covid-19 in late March 2020, shortly after the pandemic was declared.
The deceased plaintiff worked as a house manager for the Office of the Developmental Disabilities and alleged that he began exhibiting symptoms of the virus during a scheduled day off two days after he last worked a shift.
He died just over two weeks later.
The appeals court said the widow failed to present evidence showing any cases of covid-19 among those living or working at the group home where her husband was employed.
A witness for the employer even testified that the plaintiff was the first known covid-19 infection at his workplace, the court noted.
The court wrote that the widow failed to meet her burden and showed that her husband contracted the virus during his employment. It upheld the board’s decision to reject the application for death benefits.