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

CASE NO. 4273 CRB-8-00-7

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JUNE 21, 2001

WILLIAM PORTER

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

TOWN OF WALLINGFORD

EMPLOYER

SELF-INSURED

RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was not represented at oral argument. Notice sent to Dennis P. O’Connor II, Esq., Noble, Young & O’Connor, 1 Congress Street, Hartford, CT 06114. Notice was also sent to the claimant.

The respondent was represented by Michael Vocalina, Esq., Berchem, Moses & Devlin, 75 Broad Street, Milford, CT 06460.

This Petition for Review from the July 3, 2000 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Fourth District was heard March 30, 2001 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners George A. Waldron and Stephen B. Delaney.

DISMISSAL ORDER

JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. A Finding and Dismissal was entered in this matter by the Commissioner acting for the Eighth District on July 3, 2000. The claimant’s trial counsel, Edmund Hare, Jr., filed a petition for review from that ruling on July 20, 2000. The respondent then moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the petition for review was not filed within ten days of the date notice of the commissioner’s decision was sent to the parties in this case, as per § 31-301(a). The petition for review itself contains a handwritten note stating (in the same writing as Attorney Hare’s signature), “Note change office address delayed mail.” The decision was sent to Attorney Hare’s former Wethersfield address, while he had apparently moved his office to Canton.

As of July 19, 2000, Attorney Hare was placed on inactive status as per Practice Book § 2-58, and Attorney Dennis P. O’Connor II was appointed trustee for his clients. Attorney O’Connor sent this board a letter on September 13, 2000, explaining that Attorney Hare had petitioned the Court for inactive status on July 14, 2000, due to a physical disability, and requesting a 90-day extension “of any and all dates in order to coordinate and distribute Attorney Hare’s files to new counsel.” The claimant was also informed of Attorney Hare’s inactive status via a letter dated September 13, 2000, and was told that he could file a pro se appearance, select another attorney, or discuss having the Trustee retain the handling of his case.

To date, this board has received no further information from either the claimant, Attorney O’Connor, or counsel purporting to represent the claimant. Practice Book 85-1 states, “If a party shall fail to prosecute an appeal with proper diligence, the court may dismiss the appeal . . . .” Neither Reasons of Appeal, a Motion to Correct, or an appellate brief have been filed on the claimant’s behalf. See Admin. Reg. § 31-301-2; § 31-301-4. In addition, we are required to dismiss the claimant’s appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction unless he can demonstrate that his attorney, through no fault of his own, failed to receive notice of the trial commissioner’s decision before the expiration of the ten-day appeal period under § 31-301(a). Kudlacz v. Lindberg Heat Treating Co., 250 Conn. 581 (1999). Said demonstration would require him to offer evidence to this board that would establish his counsel’s failure to receive notice of the trier’s decision by Thursday, July 13, 2000. Schreck v. Stamford, 3322 CRB-7-96-4 (July 21, 2000). The claimant’s complete absence from these proceedings realistically precludes the presentation of any such offer of proof.

Though we sympathize with the difficulties created by the illness of claimant’s trial counsel, we cannot allow this case to remain open indefinitely while we await some word from the appellant. All parties, including employers and insurance companies, are entitled to a speedy resolution of their liabilities and rights. Shahid v. AAA Nursing Care, 4227 CRB-4-00-4 (March 8, 2001). That is the purpose behind rules such as Practice Book § 85-1. Accordingly, we grant the respondent’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that (1) the claimant has not prosecuted this appeal in a timely manner, and (2) that the claimant’s petition for review was, on its face, filed in an untimely fashion. Wrice v. Sam’s Club, 4006 CRB-6-99-3 (Feb. 17, 2000); Vastola v. A.C.E.S., 3448 CRB-3-96-10 (Jan. 16, 1998).

Commissioners George A. Waldron and Stephen B. Delaney concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: December 21, 2004

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2001/4273crb.htm

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