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Court of Appeals Corrects Standard for Permanent Total Disability

On 9/6/18, New York State’s highest Appellate Court, the New York Court of Appeals, decided Wohlfeil v. Sharel Ventures. This decision unanimously reverses an 11/16/17 Appellate Division decision which held that a claimant is permanently totally disabled unless he or she can engage in “gainful employment, not some undefined type of limited sedentary work.” This decision by the Court of Appeals returns the standard for determining permanent total disabilities to what we believe is the correct standard, where a claimant is not permanently totally disabled if there is any form of work in the labor market he or she can physically perform. (This standard is separate from and should not be confused with the standard for statutory permanent total disabilities.)

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