JOAN RICIGLIANO, DEPENDENT WIDOW AND EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF FRANK RICIGLIANO, CLAIMANT v. IDEAL FORGING CORPORATION et al., SC 17597
Compensation Review Board
Workers' Compensation; Notification Period for Occupational Disease Claims Under General Statutes § 31-294c; Whether Statute of Limitations runs from First Manifestation of Symptom of the Disease Regardless of Whether a Causal Connection has been Drawn Between the Disease and the Occupation. In 1996, Frank Ricigliano, an employee of respondent Ideal Forging Corp., was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood disease. In order to determine whether there was a causal connection between his workplace chemical exposure and the development of the disease, he was evaluated by a physician, who found no conclusive evidence to establish the connection. In January, 2002, Ricigliano was seen by another physician, who determined that there was a reasonably certain causal connection between Ricigliano's exposure and the disease. Later that year, Ricigliano gave notice of his workers' compensation claim pursuant to General Statutes § 31- 294c. He died in 2003 and, subsequently, his widow filed a surviving spouse's claim. The respondents then filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial commissioner granted. The commissioner found that the original claim was time-barred because it was brought more than three years after the first manifestation of a symptom of the deceased's alleged occupational disease. The Compensation Review Board (CRB) affirmed the commissioner's decision. Interpreting General Statutes § 31- 294c, which requires claims to be filed within three years "from the first manifestation of a symptom of the occupational disease," the CRB concluded that the statute of limitations begins to run when a symptom of the disease is, or should have been, recognized by the claimant, irrespective of whether a causal connection has been drawn between the disease and the claimant's employment. In reaching its decision, the CRB examined case law and the legislative history of the 1980 statutory amendment, Public Acts 1980, No. 80-124, which extended the statute of limitations for occupational disease claims from one to three years. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will decide whether the CRB's determination that the claim was time-barred was correct.