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Workers' Compensation Law

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.”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4579

AC44138 - Bellerive v. Grotto, Inc. (“On appeal, Grotto claims that (1) Liberty’s notice of cancellation of the policy pursuant to General Statutes § 31-3481 was ineffective because it did not meet the requirements of General Statutes § 31- 321,2 (2) the board erred in its narrow reading of Yelunin v. Royal Ride Transportation, 121 Conn. App. 144, 994 A.2d 305 (2010), by adopting the rule that, ‘after the expiration of the fifteen day period following notice of cancellation only unequivocal evidence of an intent to continue or reinstate coverage would be sufficient to support the commissioner’s conclusion that [Liberty’s] coverage remained in force on March 1, 2016,’ (3) the commissioner concluded properly that he had the authority to determine common-law issues when they were incidentally necessary to the resolution of a claim arising under the Workers’ Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq.,3 and (4) common law principles including negligence, misrepresentation, waiver, and estoppel, support the commissioner’s finding that coverage was in place on the date of loss. We conclude that the policy was effectively cancelled on November 3, 2015, and, accordingly, we affirm the decision of the board”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Law Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4559

AC43627 - Frantzen v. Davenport Electric (Attorney fees with 50 percent of the attorney’s fees to Wofsey Rosen and the other 50 percent to Attorney Enrico Vaccaro; “On appeal, Wofsey Rosen claims that the board improperly vacated the commissioner’s ruling and remanded the matter for a new evidentiary hearing on the ground that there was insufficient evidence in the record to support the fifty-fifty distribution of the attorney’s fees. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the board’s decision and remand the case to the board with direction to affirm the decision of the commissioner.”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Law Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4539

AC44170 - Clark v. Waterford (Heart benefits pursuant to General Statutes § 7-433c; Heart and Hypertension Act; “The town claims the board improperly affirmed the decision of the commissioner by failing to apply the definition of the term member as provided in General Statutes § 7-425 (5) when determining whether the plaintiff was entitled to benefits under § 7-433c. The question on appeal is whether the plaintiff was a ‘uniformed member of a paid municipal fire department’ while he was employed by the town as a parttime firefighter. (Emphasis added.) General Statutes § 7-433c. We affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers' Compensation Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4492

SC20167 - Clements v. Aramark Corp. ("This certified appeal requires us to decide whether injuries that an employee sustains in the course of her employment also arise out of that employment, and therefore are compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., when the injuries result from an idiopathic fall from a standing position onto a level floor… Although we acknowledge that, under our reasoning in Savage, the Appellate Court was required to reach the result that it did, we now overrule Savage insofar as it concluded that an employee is entitled to compensation as a matter of law when, during the course of his or her employment, the employee is injured due to an idiopathic fall onto a level floor. In light of that determination, we further conclude that the decision of the board in the present case affirming the decision of the commissioner must be affirmed. Accordingly we are constrained to reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Workers' Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4442

AC44111 - DeJesus v. R.P.M Enterprises, Inc. (“Workers’ Compensation Commission and jurisdiction; compensable injury; entitlement to temporary total disability benefits and payment for medical bills; “Because R.P.M. did not carry workers’ compensation insurance, the defendant Second Injury Fund (fund) was cited in as a party to the action pursuant to General Statutes § 31-355. On appeal, R.P.M. and Marion claim that the board erred in affirming (1) the commissioner’s rulings that the plaintiff’s claim for benefits was not time barred pursuant to General Statutes § 31-294c3 and that the plaintiff was an employee of R.P.M. and/or Marion, (2) the award of compensation by the commissioner against Marion at the request of the fund when no claim was brought against Marion, and (3) the decision of the commissioner that he had jurisdiction to make a finding that R.P.M. and Marion were the same entity for the purposes of piercing the corporate veil. We reverse, in part, the decisions of the board.”)


Workers' Compensation Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4121

SC20350 - Vitti v. Milford (Workers' Compensation; "This appeal presents a question of first impression in our workers' compensation law, namely, whether a claimant who undergoes a heart transplant is entitled to a specific indemnity award for permanent partial disability under the Workers' Compensation Act (act), specifically, General Statutes § 31-308 (b), for the total loss of the claimant's native heart, or whether the award should instead be based on the rated function of the claimant's new, transplanted heart. The plaintiff . . . who had been employed as a police officer by the named defendant, the city of Milford (city), appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Fourth District (commissioner), who awarded him permanent partial disability benefits of 23 percent based on the function of his transplanted heart. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that § 31-308 (b) mandates compensation for the 100 percent loss of his native heart because his transplanted heart is akin to a prosthetic device and, therefore, not considered in any function rating for purposes of awarding permanent partial disability benefits. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.")

SC20373 - Feliciano v. State (Sovereign Immunity; Workers' Compensation; "The plaintiff . . . a state employee, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the named defendant, the state of Connecticut (state). We must resolve whether the state's waiver of sovereign immunity in General Statutes § 52-556 for claims arising from a state employee's negligent operation of a state owned and insured motor vehicle extends to litigants who are state employees. The state claims that it does not. We conclude that it does.

The state contends that the judgment of the trial court nevertheless may be affirmed on the alternative ground that, even if § 52-556 applies to state employees, the plaintiff's action is barred by the workers' compensation exclusivity provision in General Statutes § 31-284 (a). More specifically, the state argues that the waiver of sovereign immunity pursuant to § 52-556 does not preclude it from raising its defense to liability under § 31-284 (a). We agree. Because we also conclude that the state is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, we reverse the judgment of dismissal and remand this case to the trial court with direction to render judgment in favor of the state.")


Workers' Compensation Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4111

SC20196 - Barker v. All Roofs by Dominic ("The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether, under the Workers' Compensation Act, General Statutes § 31-291, a municipality is the "principal employer" of an employee of an uninsured roofing subcontractor injured while repairing a municipal building. The defendants city of Bridgeport (city) and PMA Insurance Company contend that the city is not a principal employer under the statute because it is not in the "trade or business" of roof repair. The Second Injury Fund (fund) responds that the city is in the "trade or business" of maintaining and repairing municipal buildings and facilities, and, therefore, the Appellate Court properly affirmed the judgment of the Compensation Review Board (board), which found that the city was liable for the payment of the workers' compensation benefits of the plaintiff, Christopher Barker, as his principal employer. We agree with the fund and affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4063

AC42089 - Dominguez v. New York Sports Club (Workers' compensation; "This case concerns the mandate of General Statutes § 31-294c (b), which obligates an employer presented with proper notice of a workers' compensation claim to respond within twenty-eight days by either filing a notice contesting liability or commencing payment on the claim. The employer in the present case did neither, which led the Compensation Review Board (board) to conclude that the employer was precluded under § 31-294c (b) from contesting both liability for, and the extent of, injuries allegedly sustained by the plaintiff, Joseph Dominguez. On appeal, the defendant New York Sports Club asks us to extend the narrow exception to the preclusion provision of § 31-294c (b) recognized by this court in Dubrosky v. Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., 145 Conn. App. 261, 76 A.3d 657, cert. denied, 310 Conn. 935, 78 A.3d 859 (2013), to cases in which an employer (1) provides no response to a properly filed claim for compensation within the twenty-eight day statutory period, (2) makes no payments on the claim, (3) files an untimely notice contesting liability for the claimant's injuries, and (4) alleges in subsequent administrative proceedings before the Workers' Compensation Commission that it was impossible to commence payment due to the claimant's failure to submit medical bills within the twenty-eight day statutory period. We decline to do so and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.")

AC42344 - Salerno v. Lowe's Home Improvement Center (Workers' compensation; "The defendant employer, Lowe's Home Improvement Center, appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner (commissioner), who concluded that the defendant was precluded under General Statutes § 31-294c (b) from contesting both liability for, and the extent of, repetitive trauma injuries allegedly sustained by the plaintiff, Gary Salerno. On appeal, the defendant claims that the board improperly concluded that the present case did not fall within the narrow exception to the preclusion provision of § 31-294c (b) recognized by this court in Dubrosky v. Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., 145 Conn. App. 261, 76 A.3d 657, cert. denied, 310 Conn. 935, 78 A.3d 859 (2013). We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.")


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4008

AC41794 - Hassiem v. O and G Industries, Inc. (Workers' compensation; "Our Workers' Compensation Act (act); General Statutes § 31-275 et seq.; provides the exclusive remedy for an employee who sustains an injury that arises out of and in the course of employment, unless the employee can establish "an employer's subjective intent to create a dangerous situation with a substantial certainty of injury to the employee [thereby] avoiding application of General Statutes § 31-284 (a), the exclusive remedy provision of the [act] . . . ." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Lucenti v. Laviero, 327 Conn. 764, 766, 176 A.3d 1 (2018). Decisions issued by this court and our Supreme Court repeatedly have stressed the need for this stringent rule to uphold the legislative intent underlying our workers' compensation scheme.

In the present matter, the plaintiff, Dila Hassiem, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, O & G Industries, Inc., after concluding that the plaintiff's claim was barred by the exclusivity provision of the act. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that there were no genuine issues of material fact that the defendant did not engage in an intentional act knowing that there was a substantial certainty that the plaintiff would be injured. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Workers' Compensation Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3899

SC20319- Coughlin v. Stamford Fire Dept. (Denial of benefits pursuant to General § 7-433c (a); “On appeal, the defendant asserts that the board incorrectly determined that the plaintiff’s heart disease claim was timely because, at the time of his diagnosis and disability, the plaintiff had retired as a firefighter and was no longer employed by the defendant. Additionally, the defendant asserts that a claim for a new injury of heart disease cannot be established on the basis of its causal relationship to the plaintiff’s initial compensable claim for hypertension because § 7-433c mandates that hypertension and heart disease be treated as separate and distinct injuries. The plaintiff responds that his heart disease claim was timely because it flowed from his compensable claim for hypertension, and neither a plain reading of § 7-433c nor this court’s interpretation of that statute requires hypertension and heart disease to be treated as separate diseases when they are causally related. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board").

SC20244- Dickerson v. Stamford (“On appeal, the defendant asserts that the board incorrectly determined that the commissioner had jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claim because, at the time of his diagnosis and disability, the plaintiff had retired and was no longer a uniformed member of the Stamford Police Department (department). Furthermore, the defendant asserts that a claim for a new injury of heart disease cannot be established on the basis of its causal relationship to the plaintiff’s initial compensable claim for hypertension because § 7-433c mandates that hypertension and heart disease be treated as separate and distinct injuries. Therefore, the defendant claims, the plaintiff was required to give a separate, timely notice of his heart disease claim within one year of his diagnosis. The plaintiff responds that the jurisdictional prerequisites of § 7-433c were met and that his heart disease claim was timely because it flowed from his compensable claim for hypertension, and neither a plain reading of § 7-433c nor this court’s interpretation of that statute requires hypertension and heart disease to be treated as separate diseases when they are causally related…The plaintiff responds that the long-standing substantial factor standard that applies to subsequent injury claims brought under the Workers’ Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., also applies to his claim. We agree with the plaintiff 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=3848

AC41634 - Dunkling v. Lawrence Brunoli, Inc. (Whether defendant general contractor was principal employer; whether Compensation Review Board improperly affirmed ruling denying motion to correct; “The defendants’ central claim on appeal is that the board erred as a matter of law when it affirmed the commissioner’s determination that, on the date that the plaintiff, Michael J. Dunkling, sustained a compensable injury, Brunoli was a principal employer pursuant to General Statutes § 31-291. We affirm the decision of the board”).