State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Gibson v. Keebler Company

CASE NO. 1466 CRB-1-92-7

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

FEBRUARY 4, 1994

STEVEN GIBSON

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

KEEBLER COMPANY

EMPLOYER

and

COMMERCIAL UNION INSURANCE COMPANY

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Douglas L. Drayton, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Boulevard, Glastonbury, CT 06033-4412.

The respondents were represented by John Thomas Scully, Esq., Cooney, Scully & Downing, Hartford Square North, Ten Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06106-1944.

This Petition for Review from the July 15, 1992 Finding and Award and Dismissal of the Commissioner for the First District was heard April 30, 1993 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of Commissioners Frank J. Verrilli, James J. Metro and Angela L. dos Santos.

OPINION

ANGELO L. dos SANTOS, COMMISSIONER. The claimant appeals from the decision of the First District Commissioner dismissing his claim for compensation after concluding that there were not significant contacts with the state of Connecticut to support jurisdiction under the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act. The issue on appeal is whether the trial commissioner properly determined that Connecticut was not the place of the employment relationship. We affirm the trial commissioner.

The claimant was injured on August 13, 1982, while travelling through O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois during the course of his employment with the respondent-employer, Keebler Company. At that time, the claimant was employed by Keebler as a regional sales manager under a Massachusetts contract of employment. After receiving workers’ compensation benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the claimant sought Connecticut workers’ compensation benefits. The sole issue determined by the trial commissioner was whether Connecticut has jurisdiction over this compensable injury under the choice of law doctrine set forth by our Supreme Court in Cleveland v. U.S. Printing Ink, Inc., 218 Conn. 181, 195 (1991).1

A workers’ compensation claim may be valid in Connecticut, notwithstanding an injured workers’ receipt of benefits under another state’s compensation laws, where “Connecticut is the place of the injury, the place of the employment contract or the place of the employment relation.” Id.2 Whether Connecticut is the place of the employment relation is a factual determination. See Currier v. Retail Express, 1344 CRD-6-91-11 (decided November 8, 1993); Taylor v. New Penn Motor Express, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 116, 950 CRD-2-89-11 (1991). The commissioner has the power and the duty to determine the facts. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535, 539 (1988). The conclusions drawn by the commissioner from the facts found must stand unless they result from an incorrect application of the law to the subordinate facts or from an inference illegally or unreasonably drawn from them. Id.

With respect to the determination of the place of the employment relation, the trial commissioner noted: “The question of the location of the Claimant’s employment involved conflicting evidence. The Claimant testified that he had an office in Manchester, CT, and that when he was in the home office in Illinois that he took whatever office was available to him for meetings. However, in his [written] statement [made shortly after his injury] . . . the Claimant indicated that he was on the Corporate staff technically based in Illinois and that he had a Chicago office.” Finding and Award and Dismissal, paragraph 8. From the conflicting evidence, the commissioner found that the claimant’s “employment relationship . . . indicated that he was on the corporate staff of the Respondent-Employer in Illinois, and although he did have an office in Connecticut, he also had an Illinois office. The claimant . . . was responsible for sales in the company’s Atlantic Region which included territory from Norfolk, VA to Canada and from Albany, NY to Allentown, PA. Further, the Claimant had accepted Illinois as the state initially where he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits.” Finding and Award and Dismissal, paragraph B. Whereupon, the commissioner concluded: “There were not significant contacts with the state of Connecticut for Connecticut to have jurisdiction over the Claimant’s workers’ compensation claim.” Finding and Award and Dismissal, paragraph B.

Because we do not retry the facts; Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, supra; it was within the province of the trial commissioner to resolve the inconsistencies or contradictions in the evidence. See Miller v. Kirshner, 225 Conn. 185, 198-99 (1993); State v. Sherbacow, 21 Conn. App. 474, 479-80, cert. denied, 216 Conn. 808 (1990). The conclusion reached from the facts found did not result from an incorrect application of law or from inferences illegally or unreasonably drawn from those facts. The commissioner’s conclusion that no award of benefits could be made under our Workers’ Compensation Act because Connecticut was neither the place of the injury, the place of the employment contract or the place of the employment relation must therefore stand.

Accordingly, we affirm the trial commissioner and deny the appeal.

Commissioners Frank J. Verrilli and James J. Metro concur.

1 In their brief to the Compensation Review Board, the respondents argue for the first time that the claim for benefits should be dismissed on the alternate ground that the claimant failed to comply with the timely written notice requirements of General Statutes Sec. 31-294. Notwithstanding its jurisdictional nature; see Rehtarchik v. Hoyt-Messinger Corporation, 118 Conn. 315 (1934); we will not address this issue because the respondents’ failure to raise the issue before the trial commissioner precluded the full development of the facts necessary to its proper resolution. BACK TO TEXT

2 It is undisputed in this case that Connecticut was neither the place of the injury nor the place of the employment contract. It is the commissioner’s conclusion that Connecticut law does not apply because Connecticut was not the place of the employment relation that is challenged on appeal. BACK TO TEXT

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