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Francis v. State of Connecticut/Conn. Valley Hospital

CASE NO. 3566 CRB-08-97-03

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JUNE 3, 1998

SYLVIA FRANCIS

CLAIMANT-APPELLEE

v.

STATE OF CONNECTICUT/CONN. VALLEY HOSPITAL

EMPLOYER

RESPONDENT-APPELLANT

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Joseph P. Quinn, Esq., Furniss & Quinn, 248 Hudson St., Hartford, CT 06106.

The employer was represented by Matthew B. Beizer, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm St., P.O. Box 120, Hartford CT 06141-0120.

This Petition for Review from the March 14, 1997 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the Eighth District was heard November 21, 1997 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners James J. Metro and John A. Mastropietro.

OPINION

JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The respondent employer has petitioned for review from the March 14, 1997 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the Eighth District. In that decision the trial commissioner concluded that the claimant sustained a compensable injury to her lungs caused by exposure to chemicals while at work. The trial commissioner determined that the claimant’s date of injury was February 10, 1987, and that her notice of claim was filed on May 29, 1987. In support of its appeal, the respondent employer contends that the trial commissioner failed to address the issue of whether the claimant’s notice was timely in light of the employer’s argument that the claimant was aware of her lung injury in 1979. We find no error.

The employer contends that the trial commissioner failed to address the issue of whether, pursuant to § 31-294c, the claimant filed a timely notice of claim. Section 31-294c, which sets forth the statute of limitations for the filing of workers’ compensation claims, provides in pertinent part:

No proceedings for compensation under the provisions of this chapter shall be maintained unless a written notice of claim for compensation is given within one year from the date of the accident or within three years from the first manifestation of a symptom of the occupational disease, as the case may be, which caused the personal injury....

Section 31-294c is jurisdictional in nature, and prevents a workers’ compensation commissioner from considering any claim that is not timely filed. Discuillo v. Stone & Webster, 242 Conn. 570, 575 (1997); Peters v. State of Connecticut, 10 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 32, 34, 1103 CRD-3-90-8 (Jan. 13, 1992).

The Appellate Court recognized that repetitive trauma injuries are not specifically referenced in § 31-294c, which provides for one year to file a claim for an accidental injury and three years to file a claim for an occupational disease. Dorsey v. United Technologies Corp., 45 Conn. App. 707, 711 (1997); see also Discuillo, supra. The court concluded that “the statute of limitations in repetitive trauma cases runs one year from the date of last injurious exposure, regardless of when the plaintiff developed knowledge that the injury resulted from his employment.” Dorsey, supra, at 711 (emphasis added).

In the instant case, the trial commissioner concluded that the date of the claimant’s injury was February 10, 1987, her last date of employment with the respondent employer. The trial commissioner thus concluded that the claimant’s filing of the notice of claim on May 29, 1987 satisfied the one-year requirement of § 31-294c. We find no merit to the employer’s argument that because the claimant allegedly had knowledge of an injury to her lungs in 1979, that therefore the one year statute of limitations commenced in 1979. As stated above, “the statute of limitations in repetitive trauma cases runs one year from the date of last injurious exposure, regardless of when the plaintiff developed knowledge that the injury resulted from his employment.” Dorsey, supra, at 711 (emphasis added).

The trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed.

Commissioners James J. Metro and John A. Mastropietro concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: June 29, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1998/3566crb.htm

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