State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Gagnon v. State of Connecticut Department of Correction

CASE NO. 4993 CRB-1-05-9

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JULY 6, 2006

PIERRE GAGNON

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

STATE OF CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

EMPLOYER

SELF-INSURED

RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

and

GAB ROBINS NORTH AMERICA, INC.

ADMINISTRATOR

APPEARANCES:

The claimant filed an appeal on his own behalf. However, he did not file a brief or appear at oral argument.

The respondent was represented by Donna Hixon-Smith, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, P.O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.

This Petition for Review from the August 19, 2005 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the First District was heard March 24, 2006 before a panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners Nancy E. Salerno and Ernie R. Walker.

OPINION

JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. The claimant appeals from the August 19, 2005 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the First District. In that Finding and Award the trial commissioner found, inter alia, the claimant sustained a compensable back injury on October 11, 2001 and was totally disabled from that date until April 15, 2002. Additionally, the commissioner denied the respondent’s Form 36 and awarded the claimant all reasonable and necessary medical treatment from the date of injury until April 15, 2002. As part of his conclusion in the Finding and Award the commissioner dismissed claimant’s claim for medical treatment for the period beginning November 2002 and claim for temporary total disability benefits beginning September 2003.

Although the claimant was represented by counsel in the proceedings below, he appears pro se in this appeal. The only document filed by the claimant in the prosecution of this appeal is a letter recounting his need for continued medical treatment and inability to work due to chronic pain. Generally, we accord some leniency in terms of procedural conformance to those who appear pro se. Ferrin v. Glen Orne Leasing/Webster Trucking, 4802 CRB-8-04-4 (March 28, 2005). In the instant matter we have construed the claimant’s letter as both his appeal petition and reasons of appeal. The claimant-appellant filed no other documentation in support of his appeal other then his initial letter, nor did the appellant appear at oral argument.

On February 6, 2006 the appellee filed a Motion To Dismiss the appeal on the basis of claimant’s failure to prosecute with due diligence. In its Motion To Dismiss the appellee noted the appellant’s brief was due January 25, 2006 and no brief was filed by the appellant. The appellee claimed, inter alia, it was prejudiced by the appellant’s failure to provide a brief as it was only able to respond in the most general terms to the appeal. We grant the appellee’s Motion To Dismiss on the basis of the claimant’s failure to prosecute with due diligence.

We note, however, that even if we were to consider the claimant’s appeal on the merits it is unlikely that the appellant would prevail. The only document which claimant filed in furtherance of his appeal merely references evidence which the claimant believes supports his claim for the benefits the commissioner did not award and argues he should be provided a “fair and just” determination. Nothing in the record indicates that the claimant was accorded anything other than a “fair and just” determination. The commissioner’s August 19, 2005 Finding and Award reflects at least five formal hearing sessions were held in this matter. Our review of the record reflects there was medical evidence presented which supports the commissioner’s findings and conclusion. See e.g., Respondent’s Exhibit 25, Deposition of Dr. W. Jay Krompinger, pp. 18-25.

We will not disturb such conclusions unless based on unreasonable or impermissible factual inferences, contrary to law or without evidentiary support. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535 (1988). See also, Blizman v. First National Supermarkets, 4864 CRB-3-04-9 (April 26, 2006).

We therefore dismiss the claimant’s appeal from the August 19, 2005 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the First District.

Commissioners Nancy E. Salerno and Ernie R. Walker concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: July 21, 2006

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2006/4993crb.htm

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