State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
Home News RSS News QUICK Find Index Search E-Mail
General Information Glossary Law CRB Opinions Workers' Compensation Commission Downloadable Forms and Publications Links

Fazzina v. Shepard Steel

CASE NO. 1831 CRB-1-93-9

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

AUGUST 31, 1995

SEBASTIAN FAZZINA

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

SHEPARD STEEL

EMPLOYER

and

LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE CO.

INSURER

and

SECOND INJURY FUND

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Sydney T. Schulman, Esq., 10 Grand St., Hartford, CT 06106.

The employer was represented by Debra Dee, Esq., and Nancy S. Rosenbaum, Esq., Law Offices of Nancy S. Rosenbaum, 655 Winding Brook Dr., P.O. Box 695, Glastonbury, CT 06033.

The respondent Second Injury Fund was represented by Loida John-Nicholson, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm St., P. O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.

This Petition for Review from the August 26, 1993 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the First District was heard January 13, 1995 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of Commissioners George A. Waldron, Roberta Smith D’Oyen and Amado J. Vargas.

OPINION

GEORGE A. WALDRON, COMMISSIONER. The claimant has petitioned for review from the trial commissioner’s August 26, 1993 decision denying the claimant’s request to reopen an approved stipulation. In support of his appeal, the claimant reiterates his contention made at the formal hearing that one medical bill remains outstanding, and should be paid by the respondent insurer. Specifically, the claimant seeks payment of an MRI bill for $920.00. We affirm the trial commissioner.

The claimant sustained a compensable injury in 1984, in which he fell and allegedly injured his neck, back, and other body parts. The claimant’s cervical injury was transferred to the Second Injury Fund. The remaining injuries remained disputed. The claimant signed a stipulation, dated December 27, 1991, which was approved by a commissioner on December 27, 1991.1 That stipulation provided for the respondent employer and its insurer to pay the claimant $7,000 “in addition to all authorized medical bills to date.” The MRI bill for the lumbar spine was never accepted as an authorized medical bill by the respondent employer and its insurer. (See Transcript, p. 17, where the claimant’s attorney states that “Liberty had never accepted the lumbar....”) The claimant testified that he did not understand when he signed the stipulation that the MRI bill at issue would not be paid. However, the commissioner found that the claimant understood the stipulation when he signed it, and thus denied the claimant’s request to reopen the stipulation.

Section 31-315 C.G.S.2 provides the mechanism for reopening an approved stipulation. We have stated that the decision whether to open a stipulated agreement falls within the trier’s discretion and will be overturned only if such discretion was abused or an unreasonable result was reached. Gonzalez v. Electric Transport, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 6, 1729 CRB-1-93-5 (Oct. 13, 1994). Moreover, we will not disturb a factual determination unless it is found without evidence, contrary to law or based on unreasonable or impermissible factual inferences. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535 (1988).

The claimant in the instant case does not allege that a change of conditions has occurred, or that any new evidence has been discovered. Rather, the claimant contends that he believed that the stipulation provided for the insurer to pay for the MRI of the lumbar spine. Whether the claimant understood the meaning of the stipulation when he signed it is a question of fact. There is sufficient evidence in the record to support the trier’s conclusion that the claimant, who was represented by an attorney, knew at the time of signing the stipulation that the MRI for the lumbar spine remained contested and unpaid, and that it would have to be paid by him out of the lump sum settlement amount of $7,000. See Fair, supra. We agree with the commissioner’s conclusion that the claimant did not have sufficient reason pursuant to § 31-315 C.G.S. to reopen the approved stipulation.

The commissioner ’s decision is affirmed, and the claimant’s appeal is dismissed.

Commissioners Roberta Smith D’Oyen and Amado J. Vargas concur.

1 The commissioner’s decision refers to the approval date as December 29, 1991, which is a harmless error. BACK TO TEXT

2 Section 31-315 provides, in pertinent part, that a voluntary agreement may be modified “whenever it appears to the compensation commissioner, after notice and hearing thereon, that the incapacity of an injured employee has increased, decreased or ceased... or that changed conditions of fact have arisen which necessitate a change of such agreement or award in order properly to carry out the spirit of this chapter. The commissioner shall also have the same power to open and modify an award as any court of the state has to open and modify a judgment of such court.” BACK TO TEXT

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: January 21, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1995/1831crb.htm

Workers’ Compensation Commission Disclaimer, Privacy Policy and Website Accessibility

State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
Home News RSS News QUICK Find Index Search E-Mail
General Information Glossary Law CRB Opinions Workers' Compensation Commission Downloadable Forms and Publications Links