State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Currier v. Retail Express

CASE NO. 1344 CRD-6-91-11

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD/DIVISION

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

NOVEMBER 8, 1993

JOHN CURRIER

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

RETAIL EXPRESS

EMPLOYER

and

UNDERWRITERS ADJUSTING CO

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Robert M. Fitzgerald, Esq., Asselin and Associates, P.O. Box 1, Willimantic, CT 06226.

The respondents were represented by Douglas L. Drayton, Esq. and Jason Dodge, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton and Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Boulevard, Glastonbury, CT 06033-4412.

This Petition for Review from the November 13, 1991 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner At Large acting 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 has petitioned for review from the November 13, 1991 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner At Large acting for the Sixth District. The trial commissioner concluded that “the claimant’s contacts with Connecticut were not sufficient to establish Connecticut jurisdiction” for purposes of compensation benefits. We remand the case to the trial commissioner for further proceedings.

The claimant is a long haul truck driver who owned his own tractor. The claimant had lived with friends in Bristol, Connecticut for some time prior to the date of injury. After seeing a job announcement in a trade journal and visiting the respondent-employer at its main office in New Jersey, the claimant signed an employment contract with the respondent-employer to haul trailers and leased his tractor back to the employer.

The claimant made long haul deliveries for the employer throughout the northeast, including Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire and, on occasion, Delaware and Virginia. The claimant worked five to six days a week, coming home some weekends. The claimant drove through Connecticut several days each week making deliveries to other states. He also worked in Connecticut a couple of times a week, making regular Friday deliveries in the Wallingford area.

On October 25, 1987, the claimant sustained a work-related injury while making deliveries. He returned to Connecticut for medical treatment. The claimant has been paid all compensation benefits due him under New Jersey compensation law. He now seeks an award of additional benefits under Connecticut compensation law.

After hearing testimony from the claimant alone, the trial commissioner determined that the claimant’s request for Connecticut compensation benefits “rests solely on the question of whether or not [the] claimant had sufficient contacts with Connecticut in his daily/weekly work routine to establish jurisdiction for Connecticut compensation benefits.” Finding and Dismissal, paragraph 13. The trial commissioner concluded that the claimant’s contacts with Connecticut were not sufficient to establish Connecticut jurisdiction and denied his claim for benefits. This appeal followed.

In Cleveland v. U.S. Printing Ink, Inc., 218 Conn. 181 (1991), our Supreme Court held that Connecticut workers’ compensation jurisdiction applied where “Connecticut is the place of the injury, the place of the employment contract or the place of the employment relation.” Id., 195. This test derives from the conflict of laws rule recommended in 1972 by the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws. Id., 192-93. Recommendation No. 2.11 of the Commission was that workers’ compensation jurisdiction existed in the state where the injury occurred, where the employee was hired, or where the employment was principally localized. 4 A. Larson, Workmen’s Compensation Law Sec. 87.11, p. 16-67.

There is no dispute in this case that Connecticut is neither the place of the injury or the place of the employment contract. Under Cleveland, then, Connecticut jurisdiction is present in this case only if Connecticut is the place of the employment relation.

The trial commissioner resolved the jurisdictional question by reference to whether the claimant’s “contacts” were “sufficient.” This is not a proper point of reference under the Cleveland test. See Santucci v. Remodeling Consultants, Inc., 10 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 66, 1140 CRD-7-90-11 (1992); see also 4 A. Larson, supra, Secs. 87-41, 87-42, 87-42(b). Accordingly, we must remand this matter to the trial commissioner for further proceedings, which may require additional evidentiary hearings and additional factual findings, in order that the commissioner may apply the Supreme Court’s ruling in Cleveland to the facts found and determine if Connecticut was the place of the employment relation. See Santucci v. Remodeling Consultants, Inc., supra.

The matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: December 29, 2015

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1993/1344crb.htm

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