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Prioli and Schweitzer v. State of Connecticut/Connecticut State Library/Arts Commission

CASE NO. 3955 CRB-06-98-12

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

OCTOBER 16, 2000

CLEMENTINA PRIOLI

CLAIMANT-APPELLEE

and

DWIGHT OWEN SCHWEITZER, ESQ.

CLAIMANT’S FORMER COUNSEL

APPELLANT

v.

STATE OF CONNECTICUT/CONNECTICUT STATE LIBRARY/ARTS COMMISSION

EMPLOYER

SELF-INSURED

RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Joshua Hawks-Ladds, Esq., Sorokin, Gross & Hyde, P.C., One Corporate Center, Hartford, CT 06103.

The claimant’s former counsel, the appellant Dwight O. Schweitzer, Esq., did not appear at oral argument but did file papers. In prior proceedings, claimant’s former counsel was represented by Steven L. Seligman, Esq., Katz & Seligman, 130 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106.

The respondent, State Of Connecticut was not represented at oral argument. Notice sent to the Office of the Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, P. O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.

This Motion For Order for Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer filed with the Compensation Review Board February 24, 2000 follows from the Compensation Review Board’s opinion issued January 13, 2000. The motion was heard June 16, 2000 by a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners Robin L. Wilson and Leonard Paoletta.

The Compensation Review Board’s January 13, 2000 opinion resulted from a Petition for Review filed from the December 7, 1998 denial of the appellant’s November 25, 1998 Motion to Modify Finding by the Commissioner acting for the Sixth District. That matter was heard June 25, 1999 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of Commissioners John A. Mastropietro, Robin L. Wilson and Leonard S. Paoletta.

Ruling Re: Motion For Order For Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer

JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. The claimant appellee, now represented by Atty. Joshua Hawks-Ladds filed a Motion For Order For Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer with the Compensation Review Board on February 24, 2000. This motion by the appellee follows this board’s opinion issued January 13, 2000. In that January 13, 2000 opinion this Board affirmed the December 7, 1998 Order of the Commissioner acting for the Sixth District denying the appellant’s, Atty. Dwight Owen Schweitzer’s, November 24, 1998 Motion to Open and Modify and the commissioner’s November 17, 1998 Memorandum of Decision.

In summary, claimant’s former counsel [hereinafter Appellant] appealed from the December 7, 1998 Order and challenged the trier’s failure to abide by the terms of a fee agreement executed between the claimant and the appellant.1 In this tribunal’s January 13, 2000 opinion, we affirmed the trial commissioner. Thereafter, the appellant appealed the Compensation Review Board’s January 13, 2000 opinion to the Appellate Court. On February 24, 2000 the claimant filed the Motion For Order For Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer which we now consider. The appellant on May 4, 2000 filed a Motion For Stay Of Proceedings Pending Appeal.2 That Motion To Stay Proceedings was based on the fact that appellant’s appeal from the January 13, 2000 Compensation Review Board opinion is still pending before the Appellate Court. In the Motion For Order For Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer, claimant’s present counsel indicated that a claim for payment was being made pursuant to § 31-303 and “§ 31-3-1(c)”(sic).3

Sec. 31-301c(b)4 vests the Compensation Review Board with authority to award interest to a prevailing claimant upon completion of the appeal process. As claimant’s motion was ambiguously phrased and followed on the heels of our decision upholding the trial Commissioner’s decision favoring the claimant, the claimant’s Motion For Order For Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer was calendared for argument before the Compensation Review Board.

At oral argument it became clear to claimant’s present counsel, Atty. Joshua Hawks-Ladds, and this panel, that claimant was actually seeking payment pending appeal pursuant to § 31-301(f)5 and whatever entitlement may lie in accordance with § 31-3036. This panel informed claimant’s counsel it was our opinion that this tribunal lacked original jurisdiction over payment requests in accordance with either § 31-301(f) or § 31-303. Claimant’s counsel stated he would amend his motion in order to clarify the statute under which he was seeking payment.

It is our understanding that an amending/clarifying motion has subsequenty been filed.7 We indicated at oral argument that we would instruct the district office that any proceedings as to the amended motion should be scheduled on an expedited basis.

We now conclude that as claimant’s Motion For Order For Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer filed February 24, 2000 before this tribunal seeks payments based on statutory authority under which we do not have original jurisdiction, the motion is denied. Thus, the appellant’s Motion For Stay of Proceedings Pending Appeal filed May 4, 2000 with this board is moot.

Therefore, the claimant’s Motion For Order For Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer directed to the Compensation Review Board is dismissed.

Commissioners Robin L. Wilson and Leonard Paoletta concur.

1 For the factual and procedural background which gives rise to this motion, we refer to our January 13, 2000 opinion in this matter. See Prioli v. Connecticut State Library/Arts Commission, 3955 CRB-6-98-12 (Jan. 13, 2000) appeal docketed No. AC 20471 (Conn. App. Ct. Jan. 31, 2000).BACK TO TEXT

2 That Motion For Stay of Proceedings Pending Appeal was subsequently renewed in a letter received July 19, 2000. BACK TO TEXT

3 The pertinent text of claimant’s Motion For Order For Payments As To Dwight Owen Schweitzer provided:

Pursuant to Connecticut General Statute § 31-303, the Claimant in the above captioned matter hereby moves that the Commission order the Respondent, Dwight Owen Schweitzer, to provide an accounting and make payments pursuant to the Compensation Review Board’s decision dated January 13, 2000. See attached.

Specifically, the claimant requests that the Respondent pay claimant the amount of $63,251.54 plus judgment interest. In accordance with Connecticut General Statutes § 31-3-1(c), the Respondent is required to make payments during any pendency of any appeal of the Compensation Review Board’s decision. Said payments are now due and owing. BACK TO TEXT

4 Sec. 31-301c(b) provides:

(b) Whenever an employer or his insurer appeals a commissioner’s award, and upon completion of the appeal process the employer or insurer loses such appeal, the Compensation Review Board or the Appellate Court, as the case may be, shall add interest on the amount of such award affirmed on appeal and not paid to the claimant during the pendency of such appeal, from the date of the original award to the date of the final appeal decision, at the rate prescribed in section 37-3a. BACK TO TEXT

5 Sec. 31-301 (f) provides:

During the pendency of any appeal of an award made pursuant to this chapter, the claimant shall receive all compensation and medical treatment payable under the terms of the award to the extent the compensation and medical treatment are not being paid by any health insurer or by any insurer or employer who has been ordered, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, to pay a portion of the award. The compensation and medical treatment shall be paid by the employer or its insurer. BACK TO TEXT

6 Sec. 31-303 provides in pertinent part:

Payments agreed to under a voluntary agreement shall commence on or before the tenth day from the date of agreement. Payments due under an award shall commence on or before the tenth day from the date of such award. Payments due from the Second Injury Fund shall be payable on or before the tenth business day after receipt of a fully executed agreement. Any employer who fails to pay within the prescribed time limitations of this section shall pay a penalty for each late payment, in the amount of twenty per cent of such payment, in addition to any other interest or penalty imposed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. BACK TO TEXT

7 It is our understanding such a motion captioned, “Motion For Interest, Attorneys’ Fees And Costs As to Dwight Owen Schweitzer” was filed July 14, 2000 in the Fifth District, July 18, 2000 in the Sixth District and ultimately forwarded August 3, 2000 to the Eighth District where it is now pending. BACK TO TEXT

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: January 4, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2000/3955ruling.htm

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