Case Results: Successful Claim for Police Officer Disability Retirement Claim
I am pleased to announce a Fully Favorable Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decision that resulted in an Award of Maryland State Accidental Disability Retirement benefits for a very deserving police officer who worked for the Maryland Department of Transportation Authority Police (MDTA). The hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) was handled by Founding Partner, Emmett B. Irwin, Esq. This hearing was 6 hours long and the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRP), which was defending the case through the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, hired a physician to testify against our client. The physician sounded convincing until Mr. Irwin got a chance to cross-examine him and showed that the physician really hadn’t made any of his conclusions “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.” Mr. Irwin called another prominent physician to testify and support our client’s claim.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office, argued that the police officer’s physical limitations were not caused by a work-related medical condition.
Also, amazingly, they argued that the Judge should change the law that allows some Maryland police officers to receive accidental disability retirement for an occupational disease because the Maryland Attorney General’s Office don’t think it makes sense. This law had been passed by the Maryland legislature and signed by the Governor in 2003 with the aim of allowing an award of benefits for just the kind of occupational disease that our client suffered from. MSRP argued that it did not make sense to give police officers accidental disability benefits when it comes to an occupational disease. An occupational disease is a disease that doesn’t necessarily stem from an accident at a defined time in place, but is rather a chronic condition caused by the job of a police officer. Mr. Irwin argued that the police officer’s medical condition was caused by his life as a police officer. He had never been diagnosed with the medical condition before the job began, and this medical condition caused the physical limitations that forced him to retire. The Judge agreed with Mr. Irwin, that the MSRP and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office could not simply change laws that were signed by the Governor whenever it feels like it. The Judge also found that the police officer’s condition occurred from an incident at a specific time in place.
After a Fully Favorable decision, a claimant for Maryland State Disability Retirement benefits should not celebrate right away. The MSRP has the opportunity to appeal the Judge’s decision within 30 days from the date it is signed by the Judge. In this case, thankfully, the police officer and Mr. Irwin just received the news that the MSRP and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office is not appealing and will award benefits as soon as possible. Should you have any questions or need assistance from a Maryland State Accidental Disability Retirement Lawyer, please don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 443-839-0818.