State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Ostrowski v. Guida-Siebert Dairy Company

CASE NO. 5374 CRB-6-08-9

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

APRIL 28, 2010

ROMAN OSTROWSKI

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

GUIDA-SIEBERT DAIRY COMPANY

EMPLOYER

and

HARTFORD ITT INSURANCE GROUP

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was not represented and did not appear at oral argument.

The respondent employer was represented by Richard D. O’Connor, Esq., Siegel, O’Connor, O’Donnell & Beck, P.C., 150 Trumbull Street, Hartford, CT 06103-2406.

The respondent insurer was represented by Larry McLoughlin, Esq., Law Offices of David J. Mathis, 55 Farmington Avenue, Suite 500, Hartford, CT 06105.

This Petition for Review from the August 20, 2008 Finding & Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Sixth District was heard February 26, 2010 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners Nancy E. Salerno and Jack R. Goldberg.

OPINION

JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. The claimant has appealed from the August 20, 2008 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Sixth District.1 In his August 20, 2008 decision, the trial commissioner found that the claimant failed to meet his prima facie burden in his claim for benefits alleged to relate to a work related injury occurring June 26, 2000 while in the employ of the respondent, Guida’s Dairy.

The trial commissioner found that the claimant failed to prosecute his claim with due diligence and that the claimant failed to establish a prima facie case. The trier noted that the claimant failed to provide any medical evidence or documentation in support of his claim. In his findings the trial commissioner found that a number of hearings were held in this matter and that the claimant was informed of his right to representation by an attorney as well as a right to have an interpreter present. The trier also found that the claimant was informed that in order to meet the burden of establishing a prima facie case he needed to submit medical evidence and documentation.

On June 18, 2008 a pre-formal hearing was held and the claimant did not appear. Thereafter, a formal hearing was held August 20, 2008 for which the claimant was duly noticed. The claimant also failed to appear at the formal hearing. The trial commissioner issued this August 20, 2008 Finding and Dismissal.

On September 2, 2008 the claimant forwarded a letter to the Compensation Review Board in which he expressed his disagreement with the conclusion reached by the trial commissioner in the Finding and Dismissal. This board wrote to the claimant and informed him that we would consider his letter as his notice of his appeal. On February 17, 2009, the respondent-insurer filed a Motion to Dismiss the claimant’s appeal pursuant to Prac. Book § 85-1. The respondents argue that the claimant failed to file reasons of appeal or a brief thereby leaving the respondents without notice as to the specific grounds of error for which the claimant was seeking review.

It is true that the claimant filed a number of handwritten documents relating to his appeal. Some documents concerned administrative aspects of his hearing before this tribunal.2 Other correspondence asserted his belief that the trial commissioner’s conclusion was improper, unfair and motivated by the personal animosity of the trial commissioner and the mendacity of the respondents. The claimant’s written documentation only provides us with his speculative belief of wrongdoing. Without the claimant’s appearance and articulation of some basis or support for his claims there is no basis upon which to advance the claimant’s appeal. It is the policy of our courts and this tribunal to accord pro se litigants some leniency in their attempts at complying with various procedural aspects in the prosecution of an appeal. However, that leniency does not allow us to suspend all such rules. Harrison v. New Country Motor Cars of Greenwich, Inc., 5329 CRB-7-08-3 (December 1, 2009). As our Appellate Court stated in Sellers v. Sellers Garage, Inc., 110 Conn. App. 110, 117-18 (2008) and as we noted in Harrison, supra:

Although we are solicitous of the fact that the [plaintiff] is a pro se litigant, the statutes and rules of practice cannot be ignored completely. . . . We are not required to review issues that have been improperly presented to this court through an inadequate brief. (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Cooke v. Cooke, 99 Conn. App. 347, 351-53 (2007). (Footnote omitted.)

Simply stated, the claimant has failed to appear before this tribunal and offer a basis as to why this appeal should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. The claimant’s failure to provide a cogent explanation and argument coupled with the claimant’s failure to appear and provide a defense to the respondents Motion to Dismiss, leaves us with no alternative but to dismiss the claimant’s appeal.

We therefore dismiss the claimant’s appeal.

Commissioners Nancy E. Salerno and Jack R. Goldberg concur.

1 We note postponements were granted during the pendency of this appeal. BACK TO TEXT

2 The claimant’s English language proficiency makes discerning the content of his various letters challenging. Some of his letters appear to be an expression of his concern that he be availed of the opportunity to present his appeal before a fair and impartial tribunal. Others relate to his request that a Polish speaking interpreter be in attendance at his hearing before the Compensation Review Board. BACK TO TEXT

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: May 3, 2010

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2010/5374crb.htm

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