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In re Sigafoos

Decided: June 25, 1976.

IN THE MATTER OF FRED F. SIGAFOOS, PETITIONER-APPELLANT


Fritz, Seidman and Milmed.

Per Curiam

In an unreported opinion we reversed a final determination of the Board of Trustees, Police and Firemen's Retirement System, denying petitioner's application for an accidental disability retirement pension under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-7, and granting, instead, a service and age retirement allowance (N.J.S.A. 43:16A-5). We held, contrary to the conclusions reached by the Board, that the incident which produced petitioner's alleged disability was a traumatic event as that term is used in the pertinent statute.*fn1

The record on the nature and extent of the disability established that petitioner had suffered over a period of years

from a back condition. However, neither the hearing officer nor the Board made any finding following the hearing relative to the nature and extent of the disability suffered by petitioner. Accordingly, without retaining jurisdiction, we remanded for findings on that issue with a direction that if the Board should find that petitioner was totally and permanently disabled, then there should be further findings on the additional statutory requirements:

(A) Was such disability the direct result of the traumatic event of February 5, 1971?

(B) Was petitioner "physically incapacitated for the performance of his usual duty and of any other available duty in the department which his employer is willing to assign him?" N.J.S.A. 43:16A-7(1).

On the remand the Board found that petitioner was totally and permanently disabled; that he was physically incapacitated for the performance of his usual duty, and that there were no other available duties in the department. However, the Board found further that "Petitioner's permanent and total disability resulted from a musculo-skeletal condition which was not a direct result of a traumatic event occurring in the performance of duty." Petitioner then filed a second notice of appeal.

For a member of the retirement system to be entitled to an accidental disability retirement allowance under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-7, it must appear

The statute further provides that

Permanent and total disability resulting from a * * * musculo-skeletal condition which was not a direct result of a traumatic event occurring in the performance of duty shall be deemed an ordinary disability.

In the recent case of Cattani v. Bd. of Trustees, Police & Firemen's Retirem. Sys. , 69 N.J. ...


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