State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Donaldson v. Continuum of Care, Inc.

CASE NO. 4581 CRB-3-02-10

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JULY 29, 2003

DEBORAH DONALDSON

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

CONTINUUM OF CARE, INC.

EMPLOYER

and

HARTFORD INSURANCE GROUP

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant appeared pro se at oral argument, insofar as concerned the instant Motion to Withdraw as Counsel. Speaking on her behalf was her husband, Gary Donaldson.

Attorney Brendan Canty, Esq., represented the firm of Kerin, Canty & Jaser, P.C., in the Motion to Withdraw as Counsel. Notice sent to Kerin, Canty & Jaser, P.C., 120 Broad St., Milford, CT 06460.

The respondents were represented by Jason Dodge, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Road, Glastonbury, CT 06033.

This February 27, 2003 Motion to Withdraw as Counsel stemming from an appeal filed from the October 21, 2002 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the Third District was heard May 30, 2003, before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners James J. Metro and Howard H. Belkin.

DENIAL OF MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL

JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. Ancillary to the claimant’s appeal from the October 21, 2002 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the Third District, the claimant’s attorney filed a Motion to Withdraw As Counsel on February 27, 2003. In that motion, Attorney Brendan T. Canty requests that he and his firm, Kerin, Canty & Jaser, P.C., be allowed to withdraw as counsel on this appeal due to a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship. The motion explains that “attorney and client do not and cannot agree as to nature and extent of reasons of appeal to this Board, and this counsel has been unable to represent the best interests of the client.” He elaborated at the May 30, 2003 oral argument by explaining that there was a certain legal approach that he wanted to take on appeal, with which the claimant disagrees, and insists upon disregarding.

The claimant, meanwhile, explained that it would be difficult or impossible to obtain alternate counsel to handle this appeal. She also opined that the relationship had not deteriorated to the point where adequate representation was impossible. She was of the belief that she and her counsel did not disagree on all relevant points, and that the appeal strategy could be worked out with more effort. We would advise the claimant that an attorney is retained for his legal expertise, and that he uses that expertise to represent a client’s interests within the best of his ability by trying the case as he sees fit. A client’s unwillingness to consider an attorney’s point of view may not be the most effective strategy, as it puts counsel in the position of having to try a case in a manner that he may believe to be legally unsound.

Having said that, we do not find that sufficient grounds exists to permit counsel to withdraw from his representation of the claimant on this appeal. There is still the potential for this situation to be resolved in a productive manner, and the claimant has made it clear that retaining new counsel at this point would be both difficult and detrimental to her chances, given Attorney Canty’s familiarity with her file. Therefore, we deny the instant Motion to Withdraw as Counsel.

Commissioners James J. Metro and Howard H. Belkin concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: December 15, 2004

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2003/4581mtn.htm

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