State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Giaimo v. City of New Haven

CASE NO. 4034 CRB-03-99-04

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

MAY 22, 2000

JOSEPH GIAIMO

CLAIMANT-APPELLEE

v.

CITY OF NEW HAVEN

EMPLOYER

and

CIRMA

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS

and

SECOND INJURY FUND

RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

APPEARANCES:

The claimant, who did not retain counsel for this appeal and is not directly implicated in the issues before this board, was not represented at oral argument.

The respondents were represented by Margaret E. McGrail, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Boulevard, Glastonbury, CT 06033.

The Second Injury Fund was represented by Mee Carolyn Wong, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, P.O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.

This Petition for Review from the April 14, 1999 ruling of the Commissioner acting for the Third District was heard December 3, 1999 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Stephen B. Delaney.

OPINION

JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. The respondents have petitioned for review from the April 14, 1999 denial of their “Motion for Formal Hearing in Regard to Transfer Pursuant to General Statutes § 31-349” by the Commissioner acting for the Third District. A brief history of the issue on appeal will suffice as preparation for our disposition of this matter. The respondents had already notified the Second Injury Fund of their intent to transfer liability for the claimant’s December 28, 1987 injury pursuant to § 31-349 when P.A. 95-277 went into effect. The case was accordingly submitted to the three-physician medical panel established under § 31-349c(a), whose report concluded that the claimant did not suffer from a pre-existing disability or impairment. See Hall v. Gilbert & Bennett Mfg. Co., 241 Conn. 282 (1997) (statute applies retroactively to all pending transfer claims). As § 31-349c provides that the medical panel’s opinion is binding on all parties to the claim, and not susceptible to review by this board, it would appear that the respondents claim for transfer had failed.

The respondents then filed a motion seeking to have a formal evidentiary hearing scheduled on this matter that would be based on the version of § 31-349 et. seq. in place on the date of the claimant’s injury, which would require the trial commissioner to decide based on the medical evidence whether the instant claim is transferable. They contended that the failure of this agency to allow such a hearing would constitute a “deprivation of property without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 8 and 10 of the Connecticut Constitution as well as a violation of the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, § 10, and Connecticut Constitution Article I.” Motion, 3. The trial commissioner denied the respondents’ motion, from which ruling they have appealed.

Both parties agree that the questions raised on this appeal are constitutional issues that directly implicate the validity of § 31-349c, particularly in light of Hall, supra. This board does not have the authority to determine such matters. Kuban v. Bridgeport Hospital, 3926 CRB-4-98-11 (Sept. 23, 1999), citing Bass v. Chesebrough-Ponds, USA, 3709 CRB-3-97-10 (Nov. 27, 1998). In Kuban, supra, nearly identical issues were presented to this board. We held that our role was simply to affirm the decision of the commissioner, “as the respondents’ challenges to the constitutionality of P.A. 95-277, § 4(a) are the only grounds of appeal that have been raised before this panel.” Id. The reasoning of that decision applies equally well here, and we perceive no basis upon which we should diverge from that holding. See also, Genden v. American Airlines, 3912 CRB-5-98-10 (July 22, 1999). Accordingly, we affirm the trial commissioner’s ruling.

Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Stephen B. Delaney concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: January 4, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2000/4034crb.htm

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