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Masi v. State of Connecticut/Department of Revenue Services

CASE NO. 1342 CRD-6-91-11

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD/DIVISION

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

NOVEMBER 8, 1993

MARK J. MASI

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

STATE OF CONNECTICUT/DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES

EMPLOYER

RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Allen J. Segal, Esq., Segal and Laska, 29 Park Street, Plainville, CT 06062.

The respondent was represented by Taka Iwashita, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, P.O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.

This Petition for Review from the November 13, 1991 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner for the Sixth District was heard November 20, 1992 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse Frankl and Commissioners John A. Arcudi and Frank J. Verrilli.

OPINION

JESSE FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The claimant petitioned for review from the Sixth District Commissioner’s November 13, 1991 Finding and Dismissal. The sole issue in this appeal is whether the claimant, a special police officer employed by the State of Connecticut, Department of Revenue Services, is entitled to full salary benefits pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 1987) Sec. 5-142(a)1 when he was injured in the course of his employment while driving to the Bridgeport Off Track Betting facility to perform an inspection. We conclude that he is not entitled to enhanced benefits under Sec. 5-142(a) and affirm the Finding and Dismissal.

The following facts are not in dispute. On September 1, 1987, the claimant was injured in a one-car accident while driving in a state-owned automobile. At the time of his injury, the claimant was driving to the Bridgeport Off Track Betting facility where he was to perform inspection duties in the course of his employment by the State of Connecticut, Department of Revenue Services, as a special police officer. It was part of his employment duties to drive a state car to and from work. By virtue of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (Protective Services Agreement) between the State of Connecticut and the Protective Services Employees Coalition, the claimant was covered by the terms of Sec. 5-142(a) for injuries sustained “while making an arrest or in the actual performance of police duties . . . [or] inspection duties, while attending or restraining an inmate, or if assaulted in the performance of [his] duties . . . .” The claimant was paid workers’ compensation benefits at two-thirds of his average earnings pursuant to Chapter 568 of the Connecticut General Statutes but seeks enhanced, full salary benefits pursuant to his collective bargaining agreement and Sec. 5-142(a).

In Stuart v. Department of Correction, 221 Conn. 41 (1992), our Supreme Court held that in order to be entitled to the enhanced benefits provided for in Sec. 5-142(a), the covered class of employees must be injured while performing one of the duties set forth in the statute. The unambiguous language of Sec. 5-142(a), as well as the identical terms found in the Protective Services Agreement, require that a claimant sustain his injury while in the “actual performance of” enumerated duties, such as inspection duties, in order to qualify for benefits pursuant to Sec. 5-142(a). Id., 44-45. Here, the claimant was en route to perform an inspection when the injury occurred. He was not engaged in the actual performance of the inspection when the injury occurred.

The claimant’s reliance on Lucarelli v. State, 16 Conn. App. 65 (1988), is misplaced. In Lucarelli, the claimant was a correction officer whose chair collapsed while he was in the course of performing guard duties, which are enumerated in Sec. 5-142(a). Here, by contrast, the claimant was not yet performing any duties enumerated in Sec. 5-142(a). See Stuart v. Department of Corrections, supra, 46; Gillette v. State, 10 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 69, 1145 CRD-2-90-11 (1992).

Since the claimant was not injured in the actual performance of any of the duties enumerated in Sec. 5-142(a), the trial commissioner properly concluded that he was not entitled to full salary benefits provided in Sec. 5-142(a). We, therefore, affirm the trial commissioner and deny the appeal.

Commissioners John A. Arcudi and Frank J. Verrilli concur.

1 At the time of the claimant’s injury in 1987, General Statutes Sec. 5-142(a) provided in pertinent part: “If any . . . [enumerated employee] sustains any injury while making an arrest or in the actual performance of such police duties or guard duties or fire duties or inspection duties, . . . or while attending or restraining an inmate of any institution or as a result of being assaulted in the performance of his duty, . . . the state shall pay all necessary medical and hospital expenses resulting from such injury. If total incapacity results from such injury, such person shall continue to receive the full salary which he was receiving at the time of injury subject to all salary benefits of active employees . . . and all salary adjustments . . . for a period of two hundred and sixty weeks from the date of the beginning of such incapacity.”

In 1991, the legislature amended General Statutes Sec. 5-142(a) by adding language that the injury sustained must be “a direct result of the special hazards inherent in such duties.” Public Acts 1991, No. 91-339 Sec. 40. This requirement, however, is not applicable to the present case since the date of the claimant’s injury preceded the effective date of that statutory change. BACK TO TEXT

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State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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