The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division has overturned a Workers’ Compensation Board decision in a case involving a New York City Transit Authority train conductor who sought compensatory benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder caused by witnessing the death of a train passenger.
The appeals court on Thursday remanded the case to the board for further proceedings after finding that the panel did not properly address issues raised by the plaintiff in the administrative appeal.
The case involves a train conductor who applied for compensation benefits after claiming he developed PTSD after witnessing a person fall between train cars and die in March 2021.
The Transit Authority, the self-insured employer, initially agreed to compensate the conductor with medical benefits only, but later filed a notice of controversy, arguing that there was no causation between PTSD and employment and that there was no compensable injury resulting from the incident .
A compensation judge had given the employer an opportunity to schedule an independent medical examination after finding evidence of PTSD, but the conductor objected, arguing that the employer̵7;s notice of dispute was not timely filed, and arguing that the employer’s initial approval of the claim should be binding.
On appeal, the Workers’ Compensation Board found that when a claim is never indexed, as was the case here, the provisions of the legislation are inapplicable. It ruled that the employer did not file an untimely notice of controversy.
In its ruling, however, the appeals court held that the board did not address the issue of the employer’s initial acceptance of the compensation claim, and that it did not provide any reasoning as to why it determined that the employer’s notice of dispute was filed on time.
The court said it was precluded from conducting any “meaningful appellate review” of the case before the board reconsidered the outstanding issues.