Workers’ Compensation – Aggregate Trust Fund Deposit (2011)
In 2007, the Legislature amended the Workers’ Compensation Law to impose time limits, or caps, on permanent partial disability benefits. It also required insurers to deposit permanent partial disability awards with the Aggregate Trust Fund if it did not reach a settlement with the injured worker.
The insurers took the position that the Aggregate Trust Fund deposit requirement only applied to the “capped” permanent partial disability cases, and not to older cases in which permanent partial disability benefits were a lifetime award (and in which the amounts of the deposits were therefore much larger). The Workers’ Compensation Board and the Appellate Division, Third Department held that the deposit requirement applied to all permanent partial disability cases, both those that were “capped” and those that were not.
The insurers appealed to New York’s highest court, Court of Appeals. We appeared in the case both on behalf of one of the injured workers and on behalf of the New York State AFL/CIO, which appeared in the case as an amicus curiae (friend of the court).
A unanimous Court of Appeals agreed with our position that the Aggregate Trust Fund deposit requirement applied to both “capped” and uncapped permanent partial disability awards. This decision resulted in significant settlements for injured workers across the state who had “uncapped” permanent partial disability awards and wanted to settle their cases for a lump sum payment.