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

Clinton v. Lego Systems, Inc.

CASE NO. 2188 CRB-1-94-10

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JANUARY 11, 1996

CARMEN CLINTON

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

LEGO SYSTEMS, INC.

EMPLOYER

and

AETNA LIFE & CASUALTY CO.

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

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

The respondents were represented by Margaret E. Corrigan, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, CT 06033-4412.

This Petition for Review from the October 13, 1994 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the First District was heard June 9, 1995 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners Roberta S. Tracy and Amado J. Vargas.

OPINION

JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The claimant has petitioned for review from the October 13, 1994 Finding and Dismissal of the commissioner acting for the First District. She alleged that she hurt her back while turning to her left on March 10, 1993, during her employment with Lego Systems. Without complaint to her co-workers, she left her work station to go to the ladies’ room. When she did not return shortly, a co-worker sought her out and walked with her to the nurses’ station, where the claimant lay down and put ice on her back. She then went by ambulance to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., where she was initially diagnosed with left flank pain.

The trial commissioner found that after a number of tests, the claimant was diagnosed with abdominal pain. No back x-rays were taken, and the hospital reports did not mention back pain. The first mention of back pain was in a March 12, 1993 medical report by the Medical West Community Health Plan. The commissioner also found that five of the claimant’s co-workers testified that the claimant complained of stomach pain, not back pain, and that she did not claim any work-connected injury. He concluded that there was no evidence other than the claimant’s allegations to establish a work injury, and dismissed her claim. The claimant has appealed from that decision.1

On review, the claimant argues that the trial commissioner erroneously found that the hospital made a principal diagnosis of abdominal pain, as all tests to the abdomen were negative. She contends that the claimant’s “flank pain” is consistent with back pain, and that said pain was never linked to a specific source. Further, she stresses that her co-workers never asked her what the exact problem was, simply assuming there was abdominal pain.

A review of the medical reports from Baystate Medical Center shows that on the last page, there is in fact a computer-generated notation stating that the diagnosis upon admission was left flank pain, and the principal diagnosis (made 5 hours later) was abdominal pain. The fact that the abdominal pain was not linked to a specific cause does not render this diagnosis unreliable as a matter of law. The trial commissioner is the finder of fact, and is charged with determining the credibility of witnesses and the reliability of medical reports. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535, 539 (1988); Webb v. Pfizer, Inc., 1859 CRB-5-93-9 (decided May 12, 1995). We will not disturb his conclusions unless they are found without evidence. There is evidence to support his finding regarding the hospital’s diagnosis of abdominal pain, however. Similarly, we cannot re-evaluate the reliability of the witnesses’ testimony on appeal. The trial commissioner determined they were credible, and his decision on that issue must stand.

The trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed.

Commissioners Roberta S. Tracy and Amado J. Vargas concur.

1 The respondents have filed a Motion to Dismiss the claimant’s appeal for failure to timely file her brief. The outcome of the case on the merits makes a decision on this motion unnecessary. BACK TO TEXT

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: May 11, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1996/2188crb.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