State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Thompson v. State of Connecticut/University of Connecticut Health Center

CASE NO. 4355 CRB-8-01-2

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JANUARY 15, 2002

CAROL THOMPSON

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

STATE OF CONNECTICUT/UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT HEALTH CENTER

EMPLOYER

SELF-INSURED

RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Melissa Olson, Esq., Embry & Neusner, 118 Poquonnock Road, P.O. Box 1409, Groton, CT 06340.

The respondent was represented by Taka Iwashita, Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, P.O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.

This Petition for Review from the January 29, 2001 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Eighth District was heard September 14, 2001 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners George A. Waldron and Ernie R. Walker.

OPINION

JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. The claimant has petitioned for review from the January 29, 2001 Finding and Dismissal of the trial commissioner acting for the Eighth District. In that decision, the trial commissioner ruled that the claimant’s claim for a mental injury, which did not arise from a physical injury or occupational disease, was precluded by § 31-275(16)(B). In support of her appeal, the claimant contends that § 31-275(16)(B) is unconstitutional.

The trial commissioner found that the claimant, a licensed social worker, was interviewing an inmate on May 25, 2000 when he exposed himself and engaged in further lewd activity. The interview occurred in a small room where the claimant sat behind a desk, and she exited the room after screaming. The claimant acknowledged that she was never physically touched or threatened. However, the claimant claims that she felt sexually assaulted by the incident, and claims that she sustained post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety as a result of the incident. The trial commissioner concluded that the claimant’s alleged injury was not compensable, as § 31-275(16)(B) excludes a “mental or emotional impairment, unless such impairment arises from a physical injury or occupational disease.”

Public Act 93-228, which became effective July 1, 1993, limited the definition of “personal injury” in § 31-275 C.G.S. so as to exclude a “mental or emotional impairment, unless such impairment arises from a physical injury or occupational disease.” The legislation further excluded any “mental or emotional impairment which results from a personnel action, including, but not limited to, a transfer, promotion, demotion or termination.” These provisions are now codified in § 31-275(16)(B), and have been applied to injuries which occurred on or after July 1, 1993. See Biasetti v. Stamford, 250 Conn. 65 (1999); Sanford v. Clinton Public Schools, 3446 CRB-3-96-10 (March 5, 1998), aff’d, 54 Conn. App. 266 (1999), cert. denied, 251 Conn. 917 (1999).

In support of her appeal, the claimant contends that the exclusion of mental injuries in § 31-275(16)(B) is unconstitutional as it violates the claimant’s rights under the state constitution. We have repeatedly held as follows: “Due to the statutorily-circumscribed authority of this Commission, issues concerning the constitutionality of statutes are not justiciable by either the trial commissioner or this board.” Rayhall v. Akim Co., Inc., 4321 CRB-2-00-12 (Nov. 5, 2001), citing Giaimo v. New Haven, 257 Conn. 481, 490 n.8 (2001); Fish v. Caldor, Inc., 3840 CRB-7-98-6 (May 11, 1999). Thus, in the instant case we may not consider the claimant’s contention that § 31-275(16)(B) is unconstitutional.

The trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed.

Commissioners George A. Waldron and Ernie R. Walker concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: December 17, 2004

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2002/4355crb.htm

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