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Toma v. State

Decided: January 10, 1980.

DAVID TOMA, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, BOARD OF TRUSTEES, POLICE AND FIREMEN'S RETIREMENT SYSTEM,*FN1 RESPONDENT



On appeal from a final determination of the Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System.

Crane, Milmed and King. The opinion of the court was delivered by Milmed, J.A.D.

Milmed

[172 NJSuper Page 77] Petitioner David Toma appeals from a final determination of the Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (Board) denying his application for accidental

disability retirement benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-7.*fn2 In essence, he contends that his application to the Board was timely filed*fn3 and that the Board's determination is not supported by the evidence.

Petitioner, now 46 years old, was enrolled in the Police and Firemen's Retirement System effective December 27, 1956, while employed as a police officer for the City of Newark. He attained the rank of detective in 1962 and continued in that position until his last day of active service on July 30, 1973. On April 2, 1975 he filed an application for accidental disability retirement. The Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (Board) denied the application. Petitioner appealed and a hearing was held in the Division of Pensions (Division).

At the Division hearing petitioner described a series of nine on-the-job injuries, viz.:

(1) On April 10, 1959, while making an arrest, he "was bitten on the [thumb of his] left hand by a prisoner . . ." He was taken to City Hospital and treated for blood poisoning. As a result of the incident his thumb "is just in bad shape."

(2) On September 24, 1960, while trying to subdue a violent 300-pound mental patient, he was thrown to the floor. He

experienced "tremendous pain" in his "lower spine," had difficulty walking, and was taken to St. Michael's Hospital where he "was put into traction for almost six weeks." For six months after leaving the hospital he was given heat treatments in the doctor's office "three or four times a week."

(3) On May 8, 1961, while assisting in the removal of a sick person to an ambulance, his left hand was lacerated when it "got caught in the stretcher." He was taken to City Hospital where the wound was sutured.

(4) On December 22, 1961, while assisting in the rescue of several persons in an apartment house fire, he was overcome by smoke and rushed to City Hospital where oxygen was administered to him for several hours.

(5) On July 14, 1967, during the riots in Newark, while climbing a fire escape under gunfire, he fell and ...


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