In the case of Christopher v. Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, 33-2-0847, the appellant, a corrections officer, argued to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, that he should receive accidental disability benefits suffered from a combined psychological injury (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that resulted from work at the world trade center post 9-11, and an assault by an inmate. Furthermore, the appellant also argued that due to the fact that his case was originally decided under the “old” evaluative standard to assess accidental disability, or the Kane [1], standard, he should be entitled to a new hearing due to the change in law that occurred in the summer of 2007 when the Richardson[2] decision was handed down by the New Jersey Supreme Court. 

The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division heard Christopher’s argument and opined that a change in the state of the law is not ordinarily considered an adequate reason for re-opening cases in which the final administrative decision was rendered and the original time to appeal the final administrative action has expired. The bottom line is that if a member of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System had an application for accidental disability benefits denied under the old Kane line of reasoning, and a timely appeal was not filed following the Board of Trustees Final Administrative Action, you cannot now successfully file an appeal based solely on a change in the law.  

[1]Kane v. Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, 100 NJ 651 (1985)

[2]Richardson v. Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, 192 NJ 190 (2007)

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog ( approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.