BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Retired corrections officer wins disability benefits for injury


A New Jersey appeals court held Monday that a corrections officer was entitled to disability retirement benefits.

In Brown v. Board of Trustees, Police and Fireman’s Retirement System, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division in Jersey City overturned a board decision denying an employee benefits for injuries she allegedly sustained while operating a sliding gate at the prison.

Ebony Brown worked as a senior corrections officer at Trenton State Prison in Trenton, New Jersey, overseeing one of the female units, which was divided into four tiers separated by large locked sliding gates. While Ms. Brown said the gates normally slid easily after unlocking, she said that during her shift on July 1, 2008, as she attempted to close a gate after an inmate check, it stopped suddenly, and she heard a pop in her hand and realized she had injured her right wrist.

She reported the injury, and the injury report stated that her wrist was visibly swollen and that the gate had suddenly jammed while Ms. Brown was closing it, causing the injury. Maintenance was called to inspect the door.

On June 2011, Ms. Brown reinjured her right wrist while restraining an inmate. In March 2016, Ms. Brown retired, and the following month she filed a claim for disability retirement benefits. The New Jersey Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System denied her claim on the basis that her 2011 injury was pre-existing and that she would need to establish that the 2008 gate injury qualified under the criteria for accidental disability retirement benefits. Ms. Brown appealed, but an administrative law judge also adopted the finding of the board, holding that the first injury was not “undesigned and unexpected” and that one “should anticipate that a sliding gate would jam or become inoperable” and that it was “part of the usual job duties of anyone operating a sliding gate.” She appealed.

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division held that that the board erred in applying an “unduly restrictive notion” of “undesigned and unexpected” event to Ms. Brown’s 2008 injury. The court held that Ms. Brown had no reason to anticipate that the gate would jam, and there was no evidence of prior gate malfunctions. The court noted that the board conceded that the record provided no evidence of Ms. Brown tugging on the gate once it become stuck to contribute to her injury, and rather found that the evidence showed that the incident was “clearly an undesigned mishap.”

As a result, the court held that the board reached an incorrect legal conclusion and found that Ms. Brown was eligible for accidental disability retirement benefits and reversed the decision.

The attorneys for the board could not be reached for comment.





Read Next