EMILE E. ZIADEH, Plaintiff,
EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF RHODE ISLAND BOARD, Defendant.
County Superior Court
Plaintiff: Frederic A. Marzilli, Esq.
Defendant: Michael P. Robinson, Esq.
Emile E. Ziadeh (Plaintiff or Ziadeh) appeals from a decision
of the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island Board
(ERSRI or the Board) denying him an accidental disability
pension. Jurisdiction is pursuant to G.L. 1956 §
was employed with the Rhode Island Department of
Transportation (RIDOT) as a civil engineer for over
twenty-five years. On July 3, 2009, Plaintiff suffered a
work-related back injury. He returned to work in September
2010 to what Plaintiff describes as "chaos" and
"a very stressful job environment." Pl.'s Mem.
2-3. On November 19, 2010, Ziadeh, while at work, experienced
upper body pains and went home. His wife then took him to
receive medical care, and it was determined he had suffered a
heart attack. Ziadeh has not worked since.
September 12, 2012, Plaintiff was granted an ordinary
disability pension. However, he had also applied for
accidental disability retirement benefits on April 7,
2011. Three independent medical examiners (IMEs)
examined Ziadeh during July 2014 in connection with the
accidental disability application pursuant to G.L. 1956
§ 36-10-14(c): Dr. Arnoldas Giedrimas on July 9, 2014;
Dr. Alberto R. Savoretti on July 22, 2014; and Dr. A. Louis
Mariorenzi on July 29, 2014. After reviewing Plaintiff's
case, the ERSRI Disability Subcommittee (Subcommittee)
recommended denial of Ziadeh's application on November 7,
2014. The Board adopted the Subcommittee's recommendation
on November 12, 2014. Plaintiff subsequently moved for
reconsideration before the Subcommittee, and such a hearing
was conducted on December 4, 2015. The Subcommittee again
recommended denial, which the Board adopted on December 9,
2015. ERSRI 00960. Ziadeh moved to remand the matter; the
Subcommittee heard argument on June 3, 2016, but declined to
rule on the motion. The Board again accepted the
Subcommittee's recommendation, this time on June 8, 2016.
ERSRI 001015. The full Board denied Ziadeh's application
a third time after hearing argument on September 14, 2016.
ERSRI 001036. Plaintiff commenced this action shortly
thereafter, on October 3, 2016.
from ERSRI are governed by the Administrative Procedures Act,
§§ 42-35-1 et seq. According to
"The court shall not substitute its judgment for that of
the agency as to the weight of the evidence on questions of
fact. The court may affirm the decision of the agency or
remand the case for further proceedings, or it may reverse or
modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant
have been prejudiced because the administrative findings,
inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
"(1) In violation of constitutional or statutory
"(2) In excess of the statutory authority of the ...