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

CASE NO. 1635 CRB-1-93-2

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JUNE 19, 1996

SANDRA CROFT

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

CONNECTICUT TRANSIT

EMPLOYER

SELF-INSURED

and

SECOND INJURY FUND

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

RULING ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

GEORGE A. WALDRON, COMMISSIONER. The claimant has filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated May 23, 1996. She seeks to have this board reconsider its decision of April 2, 1996, insofar as that decision affirms the trial commissioner’s dismissal of her back injury claim. She argues that the recent decision of our Appellate Court in Epps v. Beiersdorf, Inc., 41 Conn. App. 430 (May 21, 1996) prevents a trial commissioner from disregarding a medical expert’s opinion where there is no contrary evidence, and that her case is one in which no evidence was introduced to counter her own doctor’s opinion that a work-related back injury aggravated her back condition.

It has long been the rule in workers’ compensation cases that a commissioner is not required to believe the testimony of a given witness, and that the commissioner is the ultimate factfinder in a workers’ compensation case. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535, 539 (1988); Adzima v. UAC/Norden Division, 177 Conn. 107, 117-18 (1979). As recently as this year, our Appellate Court has reaffirmed the proposition that a commissioner can disbelieve any or all expert medical testimony, even if it is uncontradicted. Cummings v. Twin Tool Mfg. Co., 40 Conn. App. 36, 43-44 (1996), citing State v. Blades, 225 Conn. 609, 629-30 (1993). The Appellate Court’s statements in Epps have been taken out of context by the claimant, as the commissioner had already credited the substance of the doctor’s testimony in that case. The issue there surrounded the interpretation of the word “aggravating,” and not the credibility of the doctor’s reports in general. Epps, supra, 434-35; see also Epps v. Beiersdorf, Inc., 14 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 57, 1733 CRB-7-93-5 (May 11, 1995). We decline to interpret those words as a reversal of one of the basic tenets of the American system of jurisprudence, i.e., that a factfinder is not required to accept as true the testimony of a particular witness. Therefore, the claimant’s Motion for Reconsideration is denied.

Commissioners Roberta Smith Tracy and Amado J. Vargas concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: May 11, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1996/1635mrec.htm

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