CASE NO. 4868 CRB-3-04-9
COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION
SEPTEMBER 23, 2005
STATE OF CONNECTICUT/OFFICE OF THE COUNTY SHERIFF
The claimant was represented by Brendan T. Canty, Esq., Kerin & Canty, P.C., 193 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06855.
The respondent was represented by Lisa Weiss, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, P.O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.
This Petition for Review from the September 10, 2004 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Third District was heard April 15, 2005 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners Stephen B. Delaney and Michelle D. Truglia.
JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. The claimant appeals from the September 10, 20041 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Third District. In that Finding and Dismissal, the commissioner denied claimant’s request for benefits pursuant to § 5-142 and § 5-142(a). Sec. 5-142(a) is a statutory provision permitting a certain class of employees to receive full pay for injuries sustained in the course of certain employment situations as opposed to the compensation rate set out in chapter 568.
The following facts are pertinent to our review in this matter. The claimant has an accepted Workers’ Compensation claim for injuries sustained in the course of his employment as a Special Deputy Sheriff with the Office of the County Sheriff, now administered by the State’s Judicial Department. On May 18, 2000 the claimant was injured during a training session for the certification of handcuff use. As part of the training exercise a simulation of using handcuffs to restrain an arrestee or inmate was conducted. The claimant took on the role of the arrestee and was handcuffed while in the prone position. As a result of claimant’s participation in the training session he was injured.
Liability for claimant’s injury was accepted by the respondent and benefits pursuant to chapter 568 were provided. In proceedings before the trial commissioner the claimant sought the full pay benefits afforded by § 5-142(a). The only issue on appeal is whether the commissioner erred in failing to award the claimant benefits pursuant to § 5-142(a). We find no error.
There is no dispute the claimant falls within the class of persons to whom the full pay provision of § 5-142(a) may apply. The instant matter turns on whether, at the time of the injury, the claimant was engaged in activities for which § 5-142(a) confers benefits. Sec. 5-142(a) provides an employee who falls within a certain class who is injured;
(1) while making an arrest or in the actual performance of such police duties or guard duties or fire duties or inspection duties, or prosecution or public defender or courthouse duties, or while attending or restraining an inmate of any such institution or as a result of being assaulted in the performance of such person’s duty, or while responding to an emergency or code at a correctional institution, and (2) that is a direct result of the special hazards inherent in such duties, the state shall pay all necessary medical and hospital expenses resulting from such injury.
There are two prongs which must be satisfied before a claimant is entitled to § 5-142(a) benefits. Here the claimant was involved in a training exercise. The commissioner determined that the activities in which the claimant was involved at the time of the injury did not satisfy the criteria of the statute. The trier concluded that at the time of the injury the claimant was neither making an arrest or performing courthouse duties nor was his injury a direct result of special hazards in performing such duties.
We will not set aside the conclusions of a commissioner unless they are without evidentiary support, based on unreasonable factual inferences or the result of a misapplication of the law. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535 (1988). The only question here is whether the trial commissioner’s conclusion is contrary to law. We find his conclusion an appropriate application of the law.
In reaching this conclusion we not only note the plain language of the § 5-142(a) but also our Supreme and Appellate Court’s reference to the act’s legislative history in the courts’ construction of the act. In Stuart v. Department of Correction, 221 Conn. 41, 44-45 (1992) our Supreme Court noted:
In § 5-142 (a), the legislature specifically listed those duties that the employee would have to be performing when he or she sustained the injury in order to have the injury compensable pursuant to that statute. “The use of specific words to define acts . . . [that are required by statute] connotes the legislative intent to exclude that which is not specifically stated.” State v. Kish, 186 Conn. 757, 765, 443 A.2d 1274 (1982). Thus, the unambiguous language of the statute requires that a claimant sustain his injury while in the “actual performance of” enumerated duties, . . . in order to qualify for benefits pursuant to § 5-142 (a).
See also, Johnson v. State, 67 Conn. App. 330 (2001).
We therefore affirm the September 10, 2004 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Third District.
Commissioners Stephen B. Delaney and Michelle D. Truglia concur
1 We note an extension of time was granted during the pendency of this appeal. BACK TO TEXT