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Lopez v. Chieppo Charters, Inc.

CASE NO. 2269 CRB-3-95-1

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JULY 12, 1996

NELSON LOPEZ

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

CHIEPPO CHARTERS, INC.

EMPLOYER

and

AETNA LIFE & CASUALTY

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Robert Kowalczyk, Esq., Law Offices of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C., 395 Orange Street, New Haven, CT 06511.

The respondents were represented by Stephen Ekern, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, CT 06033-4412.

This Petition for Review from the January 5, 1995 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Third District was heard November 17, 1995 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners Roberta Smith Tracy and Amado J. Vargas.

OPINION

JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The claimant has filed an appeal from the January 5, 1995 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Third District. In that decision, the trial commissioner found that the claimant failed to sustain his burden of proof that he suffered an injury arising out of and in the course of his employment with the respondent employer. Specifically, the trial commissioner found that the claimant’s testimony that he fell from a ladder on December 10, 1993 while at work was not credible. We denied the claimant’s motion to submit additional evidence by which the claimant requested to present testimony from a fellow employee who did not appear at the formal hearing.1

In support of his appeal, the claimant contends that his testimony that he suffered a fall at work on December 10, 1993 was credible and uncontradicted. It is the commissioner’s role to consider the evidence and determine the facts. Adzima v. UAC/Norden Division, 177 Conn. 107, 117 (1979); Tovish v. Gerber Electronics, 32 Conn. App. 595, 598 (1993), appeal dismissed, 229 Conn. 587 (1994). “The conclusions drawn by him 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.” Adzima v. UAC/Norden Division, supra, 118. This includes the making of a determination whether an injury arose out of and in the course of employment. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535, 541 (1988).

We have consistently held that it “is the trial commissioner, as the trier of facts, who determines with finality the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be accorded their testimony.” Miller v. TVCCA, 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 348, 349, 1675 CRB-2-93-3 (July 29, 1994) (citations omitted). Moreover, a trial commissioner has the “right to reject testimony even if seemingly uncontradicted.” Colucci v. Mattatuck Manufacturing Co., 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 234, 235, 1000 CRD-5-90-4 (Oct. 30, 1991); see also Cummings v. Twin Tool Mfg. Co., 40 Conn. App. 36, 44 (1996). In the instant case, the trial commissioner’s conclusion that the claimant did not sustain an injury while at work on December 10, 1993 was based on the trial commissioner’s credibility determination, and is supported by the record.

Accordingly, the trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed.

Commissioner Roberta Smith Tracy and Amado J. Vargas concur.

1 Lopez v. Chieppo Charters, Inc., Case No. 2269 CRB-3-95-1 (decided Sept. 18, 1995). BACK TO TEXT

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