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Conetta v. City of Stamford

CASE NO. 1491 CRB-7-92-8

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

DECEMBER 29, 1994

MICHAEL CONETTA

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

CITY OF STAMFORD

EMPLOYER

RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented at the trial level by Judith Rosenberg, Esq., Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin and Kuriansky, 600 Summer Street, Stamford, CT 06901 and on appeal by James A. Trowbridge, Esq., Quinnipiac College School of Law, Civil Clinic, 600 University Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604-5651.

The respondent was represented by Booth M. Kelly, Jr., Esq., Murphy and Beane, P. O. Box 590, New London, CT 06320.

This Petition for Review from the August 11, 1992 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner At Large acting for the Seventh District was heard January 14, 1994 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of Commissioners John A. Arcudi, Angelo L. dos Santos and Nancy A. Brouillet.

OPINION

JOHN A. ARCUDI, COMMISSIONER. Claimant seeks to reverse the August 11, 1992 Finding and Dismissal. The claim was for a psychiatric disability.

Claimant was hired as a Stamford policeman on August 1, 1970. He alleges initial manifestations of a psychiatric condition on July 7, 1985. The condition was diagnosed as “severe depression, manifesting major clinical features of agitated and delusional thoughts.” See paragraph #1, Claimant’s Exhibit O. The claimant was treated by Dr. Rafique Tai for a period of fifteen (15) months. He then resumed his police duties with certain restrictions, e.g., no gun and under supervision. The employer, unable to accommodate claimant’s duty restrictions, placed him on disability retirement November 1, 1988. (Claimant’s Exh. R).

The city argued that the disability did not arise out of and in the course of his employment and also that the claim was time barred by Sec. 31-294 as the first manifestation of symptom(s) was more than three (3) years before any claim was filed. In the dismissal ruling, the trier held that the claimant did not sustain his burden of proof that the condition was work related.

Claimant’s appeal maintains that the trier’s conclusion was legally inconsistent with the subordinate facts found and that many of the purported factual findings are mere recitals of evidence and claims of the parties.

In fact, the ruling does contain many recitals of evidence. Administrative Regulation Sec. 31-301-3 states: “The finding of the commissioner should contain only the ultimate relevant and material facts essential to the case in hand and found by him, together with a statement of his conclusions and the claims of law made by the parties. It should not contain excerpts from evidence or merely evidential facts, nor the reasons for his conclusions.” See also, Balkus v. Terry Steam Turbine Co., 167 Conn. 170, 173 (1974); Meadow v. Winchester Repeating Arms Co., 134 Conn. 269 (1948); Robinson v. Allied Grocers Co-Op., Inc., 39 Conn. Sup. 386 (1983); Gianfrancisco v. A & P Tea Co., 10 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 94, 1124 CRD-7-90-1 (1992). There are few, if any, factual findings to support the trier’s conclusion. In addition, the numbering of the paragraphs in the ruling is inconsistent. Paragraph #3 is followed by paragraph #6. Were findings #4 and #5 meant to be included?

We note the trier included in the August 11, 1992 Finding and Dismissal a photostatic copy of Sec. C7-20-1 of the Stamford City Charter concerning Retirement for Disability. The record does not show that that document was ever entered into evidence or that administrative notice was taken of it. It was, therefore, error to make a finding on a document not in evidence.

Because of this error noted and the paucity of factual findings to support the conclusion of dismissal, we must remand the matter.1

These further proceedings we order should result in a ruling clearly articulating the specific legal bases of the decision. See Diana v. C.H. Nickerson & Company, 6 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 123, 597 CRD-5-87 (1989); Hall v. McLean Home, 6 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 80, 577 CRD-5-87 (1989). The August 11, 1992 decision being appealed does not indicate whether the dismissal is due to the failure to prove causation or due to the claim’s being time barred under the statute.

We , therefore, remand the instant matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Nancy A. Brouillet concur.

1 We also note that the factual findings are inconsistent even as to the date claimant initially experienced the manifestations of the psychiatric condition for which he seeks benefits. In paragraph #2 it is stated that “[c]laimant maintains that on July 7, 1985 he experienced the first manifestations of a condition which he claims arose out of and in the course of his employment.” However, other paragraphs of the trier’s finding seem to strongly suggest that the initial manifestations of symptoms for which compensation is claimed occurred on or about June 7, 1985. See paragraph #2, 6, and 7. BACK TO TEXT

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