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Court of Appeals in Mancini Rules that ยง15(3)(v) Benefits Subject to PPD Cap

On 12/11/18, the New York Court of Appeals decided Mancini v. Office of Children and Family Services.  This decision definitively confirms that awards under WCL §15(3)(v) are subject to the durational caps in WCL §15(3)(w).  WCL §15(3)(v) allows claimants with a 50% or greater schedule loss of use for hands, feet, legs, and arms to receive additional awards above and beyond the dollar amount of their SLU award if certain criteria are met.  The statutory language incorporates WCL §15(3)(w), which sets forth the durational caps generally applicable to permanent partial disability claims. 
 
In this case, claimant argued that only a portion of §15(3)(w), governing the calculation of awards, is incorporated into WCL §15(3)(v) and that the remaining portion of §15(3)(w) with the durational caps is not incorporated.  Claimant’s argument focused on a particular provision in §15(3)(v) which states that a claimant’s eligibility for §15(3)(v) awards expires upon receiving or becoming eligible for old age Social Security payments. 
 
The Court of Appeals, with one dissenting Justice, held that the durational caps in WCL §15(3)(w) are incorporated into §15(3)(v), and that there is no conflict between the durational caps and the provision cutting off a claimant’s eligibility for awards upon reaching eligibility for old age Social Security payments.  The Court stated that if the durational cap on awards for §15(3)(v) payments has not expired when the claimant becomes eligible for old age Social Security disability, the award expires nonetheless.

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