IN RE: Bernard HILL

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York.

IN RE: Bernard HILL, Respondent, v. EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, Appellant. Workers' Compensation Board, Respondent.

Decided: February 25, 1999

Before:  CARDONA, P.J., MERCURE, SPAIN, CARPINELLO and GRAFFEO, JJ. Hamberger & Weiss (David L. Snyder of counsel), Rochester, for appellant. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney-General (Claire T. O'Keefe, of counsel), New York City, for Workers' Compensation Board, respondent.

Appeal from a decision of the Workers' Compensation Board, filed November 5, 1997, which ruled that claimant sustained a compensable injury and awarded workers' compensation benefits.

 It is undisputed that claimant's employment with Eastman Kodak Company caused him to be exposed to asbestos prior to July 1, 1974 but not thereafter and that in June 1995, claimant was diagnosed as suffering from causally related pleural asbestosis, which did not result in total disability.   The only issue for our consideration is whether the Workers' Compensation Board erred in its determination that, although Workers' Compensation Law former § 39 precluded an award of compensation (see, L.1974, ch. 577, §§ 3, 6;  Matter of Blair v. Bendix Corp., 85 N.Y.2d 834, 623 N.Y.S.2d 841, 647 N.E.2d 1349;  Matter of Vore v. Allied Bendix Corp., 204 A.D.2d 761, 611 N.Y.S.2d 681, lv. denied 84 N.Y.2d 811, 622 N.Y.S.2d 913, 647 N.E.2d 119), claimant is nonetheless entitled to medical care and treatment for his causally related occupational condition.   We conclude that the Board did not err and accordingly affirm its decision.

 An important distinction is to be drawn between “compensation”, which is defined to mean “the money allowance payable to an employee or his dependents * * * and includes funeral benefits provided therein” (Workers' Compensation Law § 2[6] ), and “medical expenses” are “not payment of compensation as compensation is defined by [Workers' Compensation Law § 2(6) ]” (Minkowitz, Practice Commentaries, McKinney's Cons. Laws of N.Y., Book 64, Workers' Compensation Law § 13, at 382;  see, Minkowitz, Practice Commentaries, McKinney's Cons. Laws of N.Y., Book 64, Workers' Compensation Law § 2, at 21).   Because the Workers' Compensation Law “ ‘should be liberally construed so as to effectuate the economic and humanitarian objects of the act’ ” (Matter of Manning v. Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., 233 A.D.2d 803, 804, 650 N.Y.S.2d 431, lv. dismissed 89 N.Y.2d 1029, 658 N.Y.S.2d 244, 680 N.E.2d 618, quoting Matter of Simpson v. Glen Aubrey Fire Co., 86 A.D.2d 909, 910, 448 N.Y.S.2d 261), the Board properly limited the nullifying effect of Workers' Compensation Law former § 39 to awards of “compensation”, the only type of benefit specifically referenced therein.

ORDERED that the decision is affirmed, without costs.



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