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Workers' Compensation Law

Workers’ Compensation Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5844

SC20836 - Ajdini v. Frank Lill & Son, Inc. (“The sole issue in this appeal is whether an employer meets its statutory obligation pursuant to General Statutes § 31-294c (b) to ‘file’ notice of its intention to contest liability to pay compensation for an employee’s workers’ compensation claim by placing that notice in the mail within the twenty-eight day statutory period, regardless of whether that notice is received after the statutory period has elapsed. The defendants, Frank Lill & Son, Inc. (employer), and its workers’ compensation carriers, appeal from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the decision of the administrative law judge for the Fourth District of the Workers’ Compensation Commission (commission), who granted the motion to preclude filed by the plaintiff, Ajredin Ajdini. On appeal, the defendants claim that the board incorrectly concluded that the employer had not timely complied with its statutory obligation under § 31-294c (b) to contest liability because it placed the notice in the mail within the statutory period, and ‘mailing’ is the same as ‘filing’ for purposes of § 31-294c (b). We disagree with the defendants and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers’ Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5718

AC45594 - Gardner v. Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services (“In this workers’ compensation dispute, the plaintiff, Beulah Gardner, appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Fifth District (commissioner) of the Workers’ Compensation Commission approving a form 36 that was filed by the defendants, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (department) and Gallagher-Bassett Services, Inc., and denying the plaintiff’s claim for ongoing temporary partial disability benefits pursuant to General Statutes § 31-308 (a). The plaintiff claims that the board improperly determined as a matter of law that, in light of the undisputed fact that she had reached maximum medical improvement, she could no longer receive benefits pursuant to § 31-308 (a). We affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers’ Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5634

AC45341 - Dusto v. Rogers Corp. (“The plaintiff, Lana Kelly, acting in her capacity as executor of the estates of Harold Dusto and his wife, Anita Dusto,1 appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of Harold Dusto’s employer, Rogers Corporation (Rogers), and the judgment of dismissal rendered in favor of Special Electric Company, Inc. (Special Electric), which sold asbestos materials to Rogers. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) rendered summary judgment in favor of Rogers on the ground that her claims against Rogers were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., and (2) dismissed her claims against Special Electric for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We agree with the plaintiff that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether her claims against Rogers satisfied the substantial certainty exception to the exclusivity provision of the act, and we therefore reverse the summary judgment rendered in favor of Rogers. We affirm the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against Special Electric.”)

  • AC45341 - Dusto v. Rogers Corp. — Concurrence & Dissent


Workers’ Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5558

AC45531 - Cochran v. Dept. of Transportation (“The defendant, the Department of Transportation, appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the award of benefits under General Statutes § 31-307 (a), by the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Third District (commissioner) to the plaintiff, Stephen T. Cochran, to commence retroactively on December 30, 2017, and for a three month period following a surgery in April, 2013. On appeal, the defendant claims that the board erred in upholding the commissioner’s decision to award temporary total disability benefits because the plaintiff, pursuant to the language of § 31-307 (a), was not entitled to those benefits. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse the decision of the board.”)

AC45229 - Martinoli v. Stamford Police Dept. (“The named defendant, the Stamford Police Department (department), appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the award of benefits under General Statutes § 31-307 (a), by the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Seventh District (commissioner) to the plaintiff, Louis Martinoli, to commence retroactively on July 15, 2015. On appeal, the defendant claims, inter alia, that the board erred in affirming the commissioner’s decision to award temporary total disability benefits because the plaintiff, pursuant to the language of § 31- 307 (a), was not entitled to those benefits. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse the decision of the board.”

“We addressed the plain and unambiguous language of § 31-307 (a) in Cochran v. Dept. of Transportation, 220 Conn. App. 855, A.3d (2023), also released today, in which the parties raised similar claims and arguments. Applying the principles of statutory interpretation in that case, we concluded that ‘‘the plain and unambiguous language of § 31-307 (a) requires that, in order to be eligible for temporary total disability benefits, a claimant’s ‘injury . . . result[s] in total incapacity to work.’ ’’ Id., 867. We held that where a claimant retires without any intention of returning to the workforce and does not return to the workforce, he or she is not entitled to temporary total disability benefits pursuant to § 31-307 (a) because it cannot be said that the claimant’s ‘‘ ‘injury . . . results in total incapacity to work.’ ’’ Id., 867–68. Accordingly, we reversed the decision of the board affirming the commissioner’s award of temporary total disability benefits. Id., 873. Like the plaintiff in Cochran, the plaintiff here elected to retire from his employment with the defendant. Moreover, the plaintiff testified in September, 2020, that he never intended to return to the workforce after retirement, his intention was to ‘‘stay retired’’ and ‘‘enjoy retirement,’’ and he has not worked for any employer since he retired in October, 1999. We see no reason to repeat the analysis set forth in Cochran v. Dept. of Transportation, supra, 855. For the reasons stated therein, we conclude that the board improperly affirmed the commissioner’s award of § 31-307 (a) benefits to the plaintiff beginning retroactively on July 15, 2015.

The decision of the Compensation Review Board is reversed and the case is remanded to the board with direction to reverse the decision of the commissioner.”)


Workers’ Compensation Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5496

SC20630- Clark v. Waterford, Cohanzie Fire Dept. (“The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether a uniformed firefighter must ‘customarily’ work twenty hours or more per week to be eligible for heart and hypertension benefits under General Statutes § 7-433c. The named defendant, the town of Waterford, Cohanzie Fire Department (town), appeals, upon our grant of its petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board), which upheld the finding and award of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Second District (commissioner), ordering the town to accept as compensable a claim filed by the plaintiff, Christopher A. Clark, for heart disease benefits pursuant to § 7-433c. Clark v. Waterford, Cohanzie Fire Dept., 206 Conn. App. 223, 224–25, 243, 261 A.3d 97 (2021). On appeal, the town claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the definition of ‘member’ in General Statutes § 7-425 (5), which excludes ‘any person who customarily works less than twenty hours a week if such person entered employment after September 30, 1969,’ does not govern whether the plaintiff was ‘a uniformed member of a paid municipal fire department’ for purposes of § 7-433c. (Emphasis added.) General Statutes § 7-433c (a). We agree with the town and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)


Workers' Compensation Advance Release Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5484

AC45106 - Bassett v. East Haven (Scope of job duties; “On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board erred in upholding the commissioner’s decision that the plaintiff’s claimed injuries did not arise out of his employment with the defendant town of East Haven (town). We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers’ Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5434

AC44694 - Napolitano v. Ace American Ins. Co. (“The defendant Ace American Insurance Company appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment filed by the plaintiff, Thomas Napolitano, doing business as Napolitano Roofing, as to counts one and two of the plaintiff’s fifth amended complaint, in which he sought a declaratory judgment and asserted a breach of contract claim, respectively. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in (1) granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment because the court improperly determined that (a) the defendant’s notice of cancellation to the plaintiff, cancelling his workers’ compensation insurance policy, was ineffective and (b) the defendant breached its duty under the policy to defend or indemnify the plaintiff with respect to a workers’ compensation claim submitted by his employee, (2) awarding attorney’s fees to the plaintiff, as damages, in connection with his defense of the workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit brought by the employee, and (3) awarding prejudgment statutory interest to the plaintiff relating to workers’ compensation payments that he made to his employee. In addition, the plaintiff cross appeals from the court’s granting of the defendant’s motion to strike count three of his fifth amended complaint, in which he asserted a claim of bad faith. The plaintiff argues on appeal that he pleaded legally sufficient allegations that the defendant breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing when it refused to defend or indemnify him under his insurance policy. With respect to the defendant’s appeal, we reverse the summary judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, and, as a result, we also vacate the attorney’s fees and prejudgment statutory interest awarded to the plaintiff—relief that was predicated on the court’s conclusion that the plaintiff was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on count two. As to the plaintiff’s cross appeal, we reverse the decision of the trial court striking the third count of the plaintiff’s fifth amended complaint.”)


Workers' Compensation Law Appellate Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5407

AC45589 - White v. Waterbury Fire Dept. (“The plaintiff, a firefighter for the named defendant, the Waterbury Fire Department, argues that the commissioner and the board erred in concluding that the plaintiff was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because he was not engaged in an activity for the mutual benefit of both himself and the defendant when he was injured as he left his home to go to work. We affirm the decision of the board.”)

AC44987 - Gaudett v. Bridgeport Police Dept. (“The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the plaintiff, Joseph L. Gaudett, Jr., began employment with the named defendant, the Bridgeport Police Department, on or after July 1, 1996, for purposes of being eligible to receive benefits under General Statutes § 7-433c, the Heart and Hypertension Act, which affords benefits for any eligible regular member of a paid municipal police department who was hired before July 1, 1996. The plaintiff, the former chief of police employed by the city of Bridgeport (city), appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board), which affirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Fourth District (commissioner) dismissing his claim for benefits under § 7-433c on the ground that, although the plaintiff initially was hired as a police officer in 1983, the effective date of his employment as chief of police in 2010 constituted a new date of hire such that his claim for benefits was beyond the ambit of § 7-433c. The plaintiff claims that the board improperly affirmed the commissioner’s decision because he was a regular member of the Bridgeport Police Department from 1983 until he retired from his position as the chief of police in 2016. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the decision of the board.”)


Workers’ Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5399

AC44491 - Kelly v. Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services (“The plaintiff, George Kelly, who was employed as a per diem psychiatrist by the defendant Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (department), appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board), upholding the determination by the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Eighth District (commissioner) that he was not entitled to enhanced, full salary disability benefits pursuant to General Statutes § 5-142 (a). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board erred in upholding the commissioner’s decision because the commissioner (1) improperly relied on a supersedence appendix and cost sheet, which the plaintiff had offered into evidence, for substantive purposes; (2) failed to allocate to the department the burden of proving that the plaintiff was not entitled to the enhanced benefits of § 5-142 (a); (3) improperly concluded that a 1989 memorandum of agreement between the plaintiff’s union and the state operated to supersede § 5-142 (a) for per diem employees such as the plaintiff; (4) set forth inconsistent conclusions in his original decision and his subsequent decision on the plaintiff’s motion to correct; and (5) improperly concluded that a 1993 collective bargaining agreement, which added psychiatrists to the class of per diem employees, was not required to go through ‘a new supersedence process.’ We affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers’ Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5284

AC44844 - Britto v. Bimbo Foods, Inc. (“The plaintiff, John J. Britto, appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Fourth District (commissioner) denying the plaintiff’s motion to preclude the named defendant, Bimbo Foods, Inc., from contesting liability as to his claimed bilateral knee injury stemming from repetitive trauma. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board improperly affirmed the commissioner’s denial of his motion to preclude, which was predicated on the commissioner’s determination that the defendant did not receive the notice of claim that the plaintiff sent to it by certified mail. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers’ Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5063

AC44225 - Fieldhouse v. Regency Coachworks, Inc. ("The defendant Regency Coachworks, Inc., appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) reversing the decision of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Second District (commissioner) determining that the plaintiff, Linda Fieldhouse, failed to satisfy the notice requirement set forth in General Statutes § 31-294c and that her claim for workers' compensation benefits failed to satisfy an exception to the notice requirement as set forth in § 31-294c (c).On appeal, the defendant claims that the board erred, as a matter of law, in concluding that the commissioner misapplied the totality of the circumstances standard and that the plaintiff had substantially complied with the notice requirements such that the defendant was provided with constructive notice of the claim. We affirm the decision of the board.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5049

AC44465 - Lavette v. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (Intentional tort; motion to strike; whether plaintiff employee's pleading was legally sufficient to bring claim within intentional tort exception to exclusivity provision (§ 31-284) of Workers' Compensation Act (§ 31-275 et seq.); whether plaintiff's allegations were legally sufficient to establish that supervisory employee acted as defendant employer's alter ego; "The plaintiff, Henry Lavette III, a former employee of the defendant, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendant following the court's decision to strike count one of his fourth amended complaint with prejudice. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that he had failed to allege sufficient facts to establish that his claim came within the intentional tort exception to the exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Workers’ Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4962

AC44180, AC44181, AC44182 - Desmond v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, Inc. (“In these consolidated actions, the plaintiff, Sandhya Desmond, a former employee of the defendant Yale-New Haven Hospital, Inc., appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered following the granting of the defendant's motions to strike her complaints. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court incorrectly construed her claims as alleging bad faith processing of a workers' compensation claim rather than as claims made pursuant to General Statutes § 31-290a and, therefore, erred in determining that her claims were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq. We disagree and, therefore, affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Workers’ Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4951

AC44409, AC44488 - Arrico v. Board of Education (“In this workers' compensation dispute, the plaintiff, James Arrico, and the defendants, the Board of Education of the City of Stamford (city) and PMA Management Corporation of New England, each appeal from separate decisions of the Compensation Review Board (board). In Docket No. AC 44409, the defendants appeal from the decision of the board reversing in part the decision of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Seventh District (commissioner) of the Workers' Compensation Commission approving a form 36 that the defendants filed.The board vacated the majority of the commissioner's conclusions in her decision approving the form 36 and remanded the matter to the commissioner for further proceedings on several issues.On appeal, the defendants claim that the board (1) misconstrued the commissioner's decision as including a finding that the plaintiff was totally disabled as a result of preexisting, noncompensable injuries, (2) failed to affirm the commissioner's decision on the basis of her purported finding, as supported by sufficient evidence, that the plaintiff had a work capacity, and (3) misconstrued the commissioner's conclusion that further medical care of the plaintiff's compensable injuries was palliative.In Docket No. AC 44488, the plaintiff appeals from the decision of the board denying his motion for articulation or reconsideration vis-à-vis its ruling on the commissioner's decision approving the form 36.On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board improperly denied his request for an order that the matter be remanded to a different commissioner for a de novo trial.We affirm the decisions of the board.”)


Habeas Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4768

SC20482 - Goguen v. Commissioner of Correction (“The petitioner, proceeding as a self-represented party, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his 1996 conviction, pursuant to a guilty plea, of sexual assault in the second degree. The habeas court declined to issue the writ for lack of jurisdiction on the ground that the petitioner was not in the custody of the respondent, the Commissioner of Correction. The petitioner then filed a petition for certification to appeal to the Appellate Court pursuant to § 52-470 (g), which the habeas court denied.”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4767

AC36663 - Reid v. Speer (Appeal from Compensation Review Board decision; "On appeal, the defendant challenges several of the commissioner’s findings and also claims that filing a form 43 to contest liability for the plaintiff’s injury would have constituted a criminal act punishable pursuant to General Statutes § 31-290c, due to her alleged knowledge that his claim was fraudulent. We affirm the decision of the board".)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4741

AC44135 - Austin v. Coin Depot Corp. (Negotiable instruments provision; Whether defendant discharged obligations under General Statutes § 31-307a (c); “On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board erred in determining that the commissioner properly concluded that the defendant fulfilled its statutory duty to the plaintiff regarding his retroactive lump sum cost of living adjustment (COLA) payment without considering certain provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), General Statutes § 42a-1-101 et seq. We affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4707

AC44104 - Diaz v. Bridgeport (Lump sum of permanent partial disability benefit payments; ”On appeal, the defendant claims that the board improperly (1) affirmed the order of the commissioner granting the plaintiff’s request without instituting a moratorium against payment of the plaintiff’s first 122 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits, (2) concluded that the commissioner’s commutation order does not violate the cap on heart and hypertension benefits pursuant to General Statutes § 7- 433b (b), and (3) concluded that the commissioner’s commutation order does not violate the principles of equity, including the prohibition against double recovery in the workers’ compensation system. We affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4686

AC43941 - Orzech v. Giacco Oil Co (Survivorship benefits under General Statutes § 31-3061; “In awarding survivorship benefits to the plaintiff, the commissioner found that the decedent had died by suicide as a result of depression that he had developed stemming from compensable work injuries. On appeal, the defendants claim that the board improperly affirmed the commissioner’s award of survivorship benefits to the plaintiff because the commissioner erred in finding a causal link between the decedent’s compensable injuries and his death when (1) subordinate facts found by the commissioner were speculative or inconsistent with the evidence and (2) the record established that the decedent engaged in conduct prior to his death that constituted a superseding cause breaking the chain of causation between his compensable injuries and his death. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4622

AC43617 - Malinowski v. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. (Motion for articulation; expert opinion and medical probability; medical evidence; “On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the board erred in affirming the commissioner’s finding that the workplace activities of the plaintiff, Richard Malinowski, substantially and permanently aggravated preexisting degenerative arthritis in his left knee, resulting in the need for a total knee replacement, and (2) the commissioner erred in failing to grant its motion for articulation. We affirm the decision of the board.”)