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

CASE NO. 5513 CRB-2-09-12

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JULY 8, 2010

DONNA FELDMANN

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

STATE OF CONNECTICUT/DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

EMPLOYER

SELF-INSURED

RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

and

GAB ROBINS NORTH AMERICA, INC.

ADMINISTRATOR

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was pro se. Claimant did not appear at oral argument.

Also appearing in the proceedings below was counsel for the claimant in a third party suit, Frederick J. Trotta, Esq., of LoRicco, Trotta & LoRicco, LLC, 216 Crown Street, Suite 502, New Haven, CT 06510.

The respondent was represented by Yinxia Long, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, P.O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.

This Petition for Review from the September 16, 2009 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Second District was heard April 30, 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, the dependent spouse of the decedent, has appealed from the September 16, 2009 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Second District. The pertinent facts in this matter are as follows:

The claimant’s spouse was an employee of the State of Connecticut. The decedent was injured and ultimately succumbed due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. The accident and the ensuing fatality were found compensable. The claimant brought a third party lawsuit on behalf of herself and the decedent’s estate. The cause of action was settled out of court with various parties assuming liability for various sums.

Among the parties to the third party action settlement agreement was the decedent’s employer the respondent, State of Connecticut. As part of the settlement, the respondent, State of Connecticut compromised “its lien rights pursuant to Section 31-293 C.G.S. by continuing to pay benefits pursuant to Section 31-306 C.G.S. and 31-284b C.G.S. and sharing in 50 percent of the net proceeds paid to both plaintiffs from both defendants.” Finding, ¶ 5. Additionally, the respondent State of Connecticut reimbursed the claimant the sum of $18,112 for costs associated with the third party action. That sum was put in escrow and held by claimant’s counsel as claimant contended there were additional costs to which she was entitled.

Proceedings were held before the trial commissioner to determine whether claimant was entitled to additional costs. The claimant represented herself in these proceedings. In the September 16, 2009 Finding and Dismissal the trial commissioner concluded the claimant failed to prove her claim for additional costs.

On December 4, 2009 the claimant filed an appeal with the Second District. The claimant’s appeal was in letter form and declared she was appealing the trial commissioner’s September 16, 2009 decision. Although the claimant’s letter relates the sadness and tribulations of her life following the loss of her husband, it fails to allege with any specificity the legal error committed by the trial commissioner.1

As we recently stated in Ostrowski v. Guida-Siebert Dairy Co., 5374 CRB-6-08-9 (April 28, 2010), “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).” See also, Sellers v. Sellers Garage, Inc., 110 Conn. App. 110 (2008). Here the claimant’s appeal was filed more than two months after the September 16, 2009 Finding and Dismissal, § 31-301(a) provides that appeals are to be filed within twenty days after the trial commissioner’s decision.

Nothing in the documentation filed serves to apprise this board or the other party to this appeal as to the legal basis of the claimant’s appeal. Finally, this matter was scheduled for oral argument on April 30, 2010. The claimant did not appear at oral argument.

We, therefore, dismiss the claimant’s appeal from the September 16, 2009 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Second District.

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

1 In claimant’s letter filed December 4, 2009 she stated the following:

My courts costs were in gas to and from 4 years and then some to courts; postage, copies, 2 computers, travel (such as to Washington D C) phone and fax costs, closer to 100,000.00 dollars. And as FBI, Police, CIA and others were interested in me (Doctors)... and there were costs associated there as well everyone knows that’s the truth. I will admit grief and trauma at my husbands death did make it impossible to keep attorney like records. To give the 30,000.00 Fred Trotta is holding in escrow to the state is an injustice and I feel I’ve suffered from enough of those. BACK TO TEXT

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: August 12, 2010

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2010/5513crb.htm

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