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The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has decided not to defend a denial of disability benefits for a former New York police officer and has instead asked the US Court of Appeals to remand the case back to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) for further consideration.

The BJA is a DOJ agency that considers applications for disability benefits under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Act. The Act provides a one-time benefit for officers who are killed or permanently and totally disabled in the line of duty.

Mayer Brown lawyers Michelle Litteken and Luke Levasseur represented the former officer pro bono in his appeal. In 2005, a car in which the police officer was sitting while on duty was struck from behind, resulting in debilitating injuries to his neck and spine. The BJA denied his claim for benefits, finding that although he was permanently disabled, he had residual functional capacity to work.

After reviewing Mayer Brown’s opening brief, the DOJ moved to remand the matter to the BJA for a new decision. The remand was filed on August 8. This is a notable outcome because a remand is the relief the court could have provided if the appeal were successful, and the Federal Circuit has not reversed many of the BJA’s determinations.