The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.
Workers' Compensation Law

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”).


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3784

AC40899 - Dombrowski v. New Haven (Denial of motion to open parties' stipulation that settled claims; reviewability of claims not presented to commissioner; settlement contingent upon approval of the city; claim that opening the stipulation not warranted due to failure of offering any evidence of “fraud, misrepresentation, accident, or mistake”; "On appeal, the plaintiff raises a number of claims that, in essence, challenge the propriety of the board’s decision affirming the commissioner’s denial of his motion to open. We affirm the decision of the board.")


Workers' Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3561

AC41943 - McGinty v. Stamford Police Dept. ("The defendants, the Stamford Police Department (police department), and PMA Management Corporation of New England, the workers' compensation liability insurer for the police department, appeal from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the finding and award (award) of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Seventh District (commissioner) with respect to the claim filed by the plaintiff, Thomas McGinty, under General Statutes § 7-433c, commonly referred to as the Heart and Hypertension Act. On appeal, the defendants principally claim that the board improperly affirmed the commissioner's award concluding that the plaintiff had suffered from compensable heart disease. Before the commissioner and on appeal, the defendants have argued that the plaintiff's condition, arterial sclerosis, is not a disease unique to the heart, but a systemic condition, and is, therefore, not compensable heart disease. 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=3544

AC41237 - Brocuglio v. Thompsonville Fire District #2 (Heart and Hypertension Act (sec. 7-433c); notice of claim (sec. 31-294c (a)) “The defendant claims that the board improperly affirmed the commissioner’s award because the plaintiff’s heart disease claim was not timely filed pursuant to General Statutes § 31-294c (a), and § 7-433c (a) does not allow a claimant to file more than one claim for heart disease. We conclude that because the plaintiff failed to file a claim in 2000 when he was first informed by a medical professional that he had heart disease, the claim he filed for heart disease in 2013 is jurisdictionally barred. We, therefore, reverse the decision of the board.”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3528

AC39397 - Woodbury-Correa v. Reflexite Corp. (“On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board (1) exceeded its authority by making new factual findings that contradict the findings made by the commissioner, and (2) erred in affirming the commissioner’s denial of the motion to preclude the defendant from contesting liability for the plaintiff’s repetitive trauma injuries. We agree with both claims and reverse the decision of the board... On February 24, 2014, pursuant to General Statutes § 31-294c (b), the plaintiff filed a motion to preclude the defendant from contesting liability for her repetitive trauma injuries. Nearly one year later, on January 5, 2015, the defendant filed a written objection to the plaintiff’s motion on the ground that it had filed a form 43 in a timely manner.”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3520

AC41025- Rauser v. Pitney Bowes, Inc. ("The plaintiff claims that the board erred in affirming the commissioner’s decision in light of the fact that the commissioner failed to set forth a factual determination with respect to whether, at the time he sustained the injuries for which he sought benefits, he was on the direct route of his business travel. We affirm the decision of the board… Before this court, the plaintiff claims that the board erred in affirming the commissioner’s decision in light of the fact that the commissioner failed to make a factual determination with respect to whether, at the time he sustained the injuries for which he sought benefits, he was on the direct route of his business travel.")


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3513

AC40399 - Vitti v. Milford (“The principal issue in this appeal is whether the plaintiff’s claim for heart and hypertension benefits under General Statutes § 7-433c is governed by the version of the statute in effect on the date of the plaintiff’s hire or the date of his injury… On appeal, the defendant claims that the board erred, as a matter of law, by (1) applying to the plaintiff’s claim the version of § 7-433c that was in effect on the date of the plaintiff’s injury in 2010 (2010 version), rather than the version of § 7-433c that was in effect on the date of the plaintiff’s hire in 1993 (1993 version), and (2) affirming the commissioner’s finding that the plaintiff’s giant cell myocarditis qualifies as heart disease under § 7-433c. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers' Compensation Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3479

SC19937 - Brennan v. Waterbury (“In this appeal, we consider whether heart and hypertension benefits under General Statutes § 7-433c for permanent disability properly are paid to a deceased claimant’s estate if such benefits vested and were payable (‘‘matured’’) during the claimant’s lifetime but were not paid to the claimant before his death. In particular, we are asked to consider whether Morgan v. East Haven, 208 Conn. 576, 546 A.2d 243 (1988), and the legislative response to that decision, instead requires payment of such benefits to the claimant’s dependents or nondependent children.”)


Workers' Compensation Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3429

SC20004 - Gould v. Stamford (Single-member limited liability companies; concurrent employment of City of Stamford and Intervale; whether the plaintiff is " eligible for concurrent compensation benefits from the defendant Second Injury Fund (fund) pursuant to General Statutes § 31-310...The fund denied the claim for benefits on the ground that the plaintiff was not Intervale’s employee. The plaintiff sought review of this ruling by the Workers’ Compensation Commission (commission). After a hearing, the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Seventh District (commissioner) determined that the plaintiff was not an employee of Intervale for purposes of the act and, therefore, did not qualify for compensation benefits based on his allegedly concurrent employment. The plaintiff appealed from the decision of the commissioner to the Compensation Review Board (board), which affirmed that decision. This appeal followed. We conclude that the plaintiff qualifies as Intervale’s employee for purposes of the act and, therefore, is eligible for concurrent employment benefits pursuant to § 31-3”)


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3385

AC39154- Rivera v. Patient Care of Connecticut ("On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board erred in affirming the commissioner’s ruling because the commissioner did not require the defendant to prove that she had a work capacity and improperly shifted the burden to her to prove that she did not have a work capacity. Because the commissioner limited his finding on the defendant’s form 36 to the issue of whether the plaintiff reached maximum medical improvement as to her partial disability to her right lower extremity, he did not need to address the issue of the plaintiff’s work capacity. Consequently, the record does not support the plaintiff’s contention that the commissioner improperly required her to prove that she lacked a work capacity. Accordingly, we affirm the decision of the board.")


Workers' Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3375

AC38256 - Quinones v. R.W. Thompson Co. ("The plaintiff, Wilfredo Quinones, appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Sixth District, Stephen B. Delaney, denying the plaintiff's motion to preclude the defendant, R. W. Thompson Co., Inc., from contesting the extent of the plaintiff's injury. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board improperly (1) found there was no error when the commissioner rejected an alleged stipulation that the case be decided on the original record and (2) affirmed the denial of the plaintiff's motion to preclude despite the defendant's failure to file a form 43. 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=3188

AC39528 - Dahle v. Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. (Claim of plaintiff that she was entitled to temporary total disability benefits without a social security offset; “On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board erred by: (1) not addressing past incorrect evidence, not finding her new evidence credible, and not addressing a statement from Commissioner Stephen B. Delaney about delayed medical care; and (2) denying her request for financial compensation without a social security offset pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2003) § 31- 307 (e). We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.”)


Workers' Compensation Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3174

SC19990, SC19991- Filosi v. Electric Boat Corp. (“In this workers’ compensation appeal, we consider whether an employer is collaterally estopped from challenging an employee’s eligibility for benefits under the Connecticut Workers’ CompensationAct (state act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., because of an earlier decision by a United States Department of Labor administrative law judge (administrative law judge) awarding benefits to that employee under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act), 33 U.S.C. § 901 et seq. (2012). .. On appeal, the defendant claims that the board improperly determined that the administrative law judge’s decision to award benefits under the Longshore Act collaterally estopped it from challenging compensability because the federal forum employs a lower standard of causation than the substantial factor standard required by the state act and, therefore, that it should be allowed to litigate its claims under the higher state standard. Guided largely by our decision in Birnie v. Electric Boat Corp., 288 Conn. 392, 953 A.2d 28 (2008), we conclude that the board properly determined that the defendant is collaterally estopped from relitigating the issue of causation under the state act because the record of the Longshore Act proceedings indicates that the administrative law judge employed the substantial factor standard that governs in the state forum. Accordingly, 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=3154

AC39993 - Diaz v. Dept. of Social Services ("On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board improperly: (1) affirmed the commissioner’s finding and dismissal; (2) affirmed the commissioner’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion to correct the finding; and (3) denied the plaintiff’s motion to submit additional evidence. We affirm the decision of the board… the plaintiff characterizes this evidence as ‘‘new evidence,’’ the documents that the plaintiff sought to submit as additional evidence were in existence in 2010, approximately four years before the formal hearing on her workers’ compensation claim commenced in 2014. In light of this, we conclude that the board reasonably could have concluded that the plaintiff did not demonstrate that she had good reason for not presenting such evidence to the commissioner. The board did not abuse its discretion in denying the plaintiff’s motion to submit additional evidence.")


Workers' Compensation Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3105

SC19755 - Callaghan v. Car Parts International, LLC ("In this appeal from the Compensation Review Board, we consider the extent of an employer’s right to a credit against its obligation to pay workers’ compensation benefits for an injured employee when that employee has recovered damages from a third- party tortfeasor who caused the employee’s injuries. When an employee is injured in a work related accident, the Workers’ Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., bars the employee from bringing an action for damages against the employer but, also, requires employers to pay certain benefits to the injured employee. These benefits can include covering the employee’s medical expenses or providing compensation for disabilities resulting from the injury. See General Statutes § 31-275 (4).")


1 2