State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Cummings v. Twin Tool Manufacturing

CASE NO. 3395 CRB-1-96-8

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JULY 15, 1997

DAVID CUMMINGS

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

TWIN TOOL MANUFACTURING

EMPLOYER

and

ROLLINS HUDIG HALL OF CONNECTICUT, INC.

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant represented himself during oral argument before the compensation review board.

The employer was represented by Thomas G. Parisot, Esq., Secor, Cassidy & McPartland, P.C. 41 Church St., P.O. Box 2818, Waterbury, CT 06723.

The respondent employer and insurer were represented by William C. Brown, Esq., McGann, Bartlett & Brown, 281 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon, CT 06066, who did not appear at oral argument.

Notice sent to: Brian Prucker, Esq., Fitzgerald & Prucker, 101 Buckland Center, 1127 Tolland Turnpike Manchester, CT 06040.

Notice sent to: Second Injury Fund, Brewster Blackall, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, P. O. Box 120, 55 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.

This Petition for Review from the July 31, 1996 Order issued by the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl was heard May 9, 1997 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of Commissioners John A. Mastropietro, Amado J. Vargas, and Stephen B. Delaney.

OPINION

JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, COMMISSIONER. The claimant has petitioned for review from the July 31, 1996 Order by the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl (hereinafter “Chairman”). In that order, the Chairman addressed the claimant’s request for a pre-formal hearing, which the claimant had sent to the First District. The Chairman directed that the requested hearing be held in the Eighth District. In support of his appeal, the claimant contends that Commissioner Metro should preside over the requested hearing. Specifically, the claimant contends that the Chairman lacks the statutory power to transfer his request for a hearing from one district to another. In addition, the claimant alleges that the Chairman was biased against the claimant and thus should not have issued the order.

The July 31, 1996 Order was issued in response to the claimant’s letter to Commissioner Metro dated July 29, 1996 in which the claimant requested an emergency pre-formal hearing. Pursuant to the July 31, 1996 Order, the Chairman directed that the claimant’s request for a hearing be scheduled at the Eighth District. The Chairman set forth the following four reasons for this decision: (1) the caseload at the Eighth District as compared to other districts; (2) the claimant’s extensive file was already located at the Eighth District; (3) the number of commissioners previously involved in the claimant’s case; and (4) there were matters relating to the claimant’s claim currently pending at the Eighth District.

We must first address the issue of whether this board has jurisdiction to consider the claimant’s appeal. Specifically, our Supreme Court has stated that “an administrative transfer of a case or cases by the chairman is not within the appellate jurisdiction of the board.” Dixon v. United Illuminating Co., 232 Conn. 758, 775 (1995). The court explained that § 31-301(a) defines the appellate jurisdiction of the board, and limits said jurisdiction “to three types of matters: (1) the ‘entry of an award by the commissioner’; (2) a ‘decision of the commissioner upon a motion’; and (3) ‘an order by the commissioner according to the provisions of section 31-299b.’” Id. at 776. The court opined that an administrative transfer of a case does not fall within any of these categories and that it would “undermine the chairman’s broad administrative authority and responsibility under § 31-280(b) to subject his decisions on such discretionary administrative matters to appellate review by the board.” Id. The court thus answered the following question in the negative: “Does the compensation review board have jurisdiction over appeals taken from the chairman’s exercise of powers conferred to him by General Statutes § 31-280?” Id. at 764-65.

Based upon the above, we conclude that we do not have jurisdiction to consider the claimant’s appeal from the Chairman’s July 31, 1996 Order, as it was issued for purely administrative reasons as opposed to an effort to adjudicate any issue. Even if we were to consider the merits of the claimant’s appeal in the instant case, we would conclude that the July 31, 1996 Order constituted a proper exercise of the administrative powers conferred on the Chairman by § 31-280(b). Specifically, § 31-280(b)(6) provides that the Chairman shall “Allocate the resources of the commission to carry out the purposes of this chapter”; § 31-280(b)(14) provides that the Chairman shall “Control the hearing calendars of the compensation commissioners...”; and § 31-280(b)(16) provides that the Chairman shall “Direct and supervise all administrative affairs of the commission.” The reasons for the July 31, 1996 Order are purely administrative in nature, namely the caseloads in the districts, the location of the file at the Eighth District, the number of commissioners who had previously been involved in related proceedings with the claimant, and the fact that related matters involving the claimant’s claim were pending at the Eighth District. Thus, even if we had jurisdiction to consider the claimant’s appeal we would be compelled to find no error.

The claimant’s appeal is dismissed.

Commissioners Amado J. Vargas and Stephen B. Delaney concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: June 13, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1997/3395crb.htm

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