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Workers' Compensation Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Townsend, Karen

 

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.”)