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)