Line of Duty Disability Benefits – LEOFF

The Washington State Court of Appeals for Division 2 recently ruled in favor of our client, Frank Shaw, in an appeal we had taken from a decision of the Department of Retirement Systems.  The issue involved in the appeal was the correct legal test the Department of Retirement Systems is required to apply to determine whether a fire fighter or law enforcement officer is entitled to line-of-duty disability benefits.  The Department of Retirement Systems had found, in its original decision, that performance of authorized duties had to be the sole cause of a particular disabling condition.

We argued, on behalf of Mr. Shaw, that it would be sufficient if the line-of-duty activities had aggravated a pre-existing condition and caused it to become disabling.  The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the Department of Retirement Systems’ decision and remanded Mr. Shaw’s claim back to the Department of Retirement Systems to consider the case under the correct legal standard.  The case is Shaw v. Department of Retirement Systems, 193 Wn.App 211, 371 P.3d 106 (2016).

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