State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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CRB Case Annotations re: Section 31-275(15)

[Formerly § 31-275(11)]

Occupational disease.

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THESE ANNOTATIONS ARE PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY

Full texts of opinions, statutes and court decisions should be consulted and all citations and references fully researched by the reader.

The Annotations to Compensation Review Board Opinions are presented “as is” and the Commission makes no warranties as to the suitability of this information for any given purpose.
Please note also that Annotations change periodically due to several factors including, but not limited to, Appellate and Supreme Court decisions issued in workers’ compensation cases.

Woodmansee v. Milford, 5768 CRB-4-12-7 (December 18, 2013).

Claimant developed hepatitis C which he testified was likely due to exposure to infected blood from a needle stick while employed as a paramedic. Respondents argued that such an illness was not unusually common to first responders and therefore not an occupational disease. CRB found circumstances generally similar to Estate of Doe v. Dept. of Correction, 268 Conn. 753 (2004) as claimant’s employment created risk of contracting illness via blood borne disease. See also, Woodmansee, § 31-294c.

Estate of Robert C. Haburey v. Winchester, 5763 CRB-6-12-6 (June 14, 2013).

Trier concluded that claimant died of sepsis following exposure to Legionella at employer’s sewer treatment plant. CRB affirmed trier’s compensability findings on basis of medical record despite expert’s lack of “absolute certainty” regarding etiology of claimant’s sepsis, and declined to address whether Legionnaire’s Disease constituted occupational disease as contemplated by § 31-275(15) C.G.S. CRB rejected respondents’ claim that trier lacked subject matter jurisdiction due to deficient notice of claim, noting that prior trial commissioner’s Finding and Award regarding sufficiency of notice adequately reflected analysis set forth in Berry v. State/Dept. of Public Safety, 5162 CRB-3-06-11 (December 20, 2007). CRB found respondents’ allegations of due process deprivation without merit and also denied claimant’s Motion to Dismiss predicated on respondents’ compliance with instant Finding and Award, noting that dismissal would vitiate appeal provisions codified at § 31-301 C.G.S., et. seq. CRB affirmed trier’s denial of Motion to Correct. See also, Estate of Haburey, § 31-275(1), § 31-294c, § 31-301. Appeal Procedure, § 31-301. Factual Findings, § 31-301-04, § 31-306.

Estate of Greenberg v. ABB Combustion Engineering Services, Incorporated, 5521 CRB-1-10-1 (June 11, 2012).

Dependent widow of employee who died of pancreatic cancer filed two notices of occupational disease claim. Respondents contended first notice of claim, filed within one year of employee’s death, was legally insufficient because Form 30C did not contain widow’s name or identify type of benefits being sought. Respondents argued second Form 30C was legally insufficient and untimely as it did not identify type of benefits sought and was filed two and one-half years after employee’s death. Trier found first Form 30C timely and sufficient but found second Form 30C untimely on basis that claimant had “formed a belief” regarding causation of employee’s pancreatic cancer almost two years before filing second Form 30C. Respondents appealed and claimant cross-appealed. CRB affirmed findings relative to first notice of claim, noting that Form 30C clearly indicated employee had died and, consistent with Berry v. State/Dept. of Public Safety, 5162 CRB-3-06-11 (December 20, 2007), provided respondents with reasonable notice that survivor’s benefits were being sought. CRB reversed trier’s findings relative to second notice of claim, noting that proper analysis for assessing date of commencement of three-year statute of limitations for occupational disease hinged on identifying date of first manifestation of symptom of occupational disease. Because trier reasonably inferred that “first manifestation” occurred when employee’s son filed application for federal benefits pursuant to Department of Labor’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, second Form 30C was timely as it was filed within three years of date of federal filing. CRB also noted that parties attended an informal hearing within this three-year window. See also, Estate of Greenberg, § 31-294c; § 31 301; Factual findings, § 31-301-04; § 31-306.

Dinneen v. Acands, Inc., 5664 CRB-3-11-7 (July 3, 2012).

Claimant with mesothelioma filed claim asserting he had a compensable injury as a result of working at prior employers where asbestos was present. Insurer for Cerro Wire claimed as claimant was employed there as a computer operator, he was not eligible for occupational disease benefits as illness not “peculiar to his employment” citing Malchik v. Division of Criminal Justice, 266 Conn. 728 (2003). CRB distinguished Malchik on the facts and found based on nature of injury claim more similar to Chappell v. Pfizer, Inc., 5139 CRB-2-06-10 (November 19, 2007), aff’d, 115 Conn. App. 702 (2009). CRB upheld claim, as evidence was claimant spent large period of time in close proximity to industrial equipment using asbestos. Evidence on record established whether claimant suffered occupational disease, not job title. See also, Dineen, § 31-299b.

Veilleux v. Complete Interior Systems, Inc., 5231 CRB-8-07-5 (May 22, 2008).

Claimant filed claim for repetitive trauma neck injury more than one year after last exposure to trauma. Trial Commissioner dismissed claim as untimely. Claimant appealed, asserting Discuillo v. Stone & Webster, 242 Conn. 570 (1997) requires the trial commissioner to reach a specific finding as to whether, for jurisdictional purposes, a repetitive trauma injury “more closely resembles” an accidental injury or an occupational disease. CRB upheld trial commissioner; plain meaning of occupational disease statute did not include this test. See also, Veilleux, § 31-294c C.G.S, § 31-275(16).

Voronuk v. Electric Boat, 5167 CRB-8-06-12 (January 17, 2008), aff’d 118 Conn. App. 248 (2009).

Claimant was surviving spouse of worker who died of cardiac arrest. Claimant also had asbestosis. Trial commissioner concluded that claimant failed to produce any expert testimony that asbestosis from work was a substantial or significant factor in spouse’s demise. CRB upheld trial commissioner, who properly applied standard in McDonough v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 204 Conn. 104 (1987). Review of claimant’s evidence did not compel trial commissioner to issue an award. See also, Voronuk, § 31-301. Factual findings, § 31-306.

Chappell v. Pfizer, Inc., 5139 CRB-2-06-10 (November 19, 2007), aff’d, 115 Conn. App. 702 (2009).

Claimant asserted he had contracted asthma by inhaling fumes from fermentation tank at pharmaceutical plant. Claim was not brought within one year period from date of last exposure. Respondents challenged claim as untimely as claim beyond timeline for accidental injury or repetitive trauma claims. Trial commissioner found claimant proved an occupational disease claim, thus making claim timely. Respondents appealed, but CRB upheld award. Evidence on record from expert witness supportive of commissioner’s findings illness was peculiar to claimant’s occupation, making case more similar to Estate of Doe v. Dept. of Correction, 268 Conn. 753 (2004) then Malchik v. Division of Criminal Justice, 266 Conn. 728 (2003). See also, Chappell, § 31-294c.

Ricigliano v. Ideal Forging Corp., 4851 CRB-6-04-9 (September 28, 2005), rev’d, 280 Conn. 723 (2006).

See, Ricigliano, § 31-294c.

Strong v. UTC/Pratt & Whitney, 4563 CRB-1-02-8 (August 25, 2003).

See, Strong, § 31-275(1), § 31-308(b), § 31-301. Factual findings, § 31-349.

Malchik v. State/Div. of Criminal Justice, 4455 CRB-2-01-11 (October 23, 2002), aff’d, 266 Conn. 728 (2003).

CRB affirmed trier’s finding that claimant’s alleged stress-related coronary artery disease was not an occupational disease. Claimant did not introduce any evidence to show that this type of stress is distinctively associated with his previous profession. See also, Malchik, § 31-275(9), § 31-294c(a).

Doe v. State/Dept. of Correction, 4401 CRB-4-01-6 (May 16, 2002), rev’d and remanded, 268 Conn. 753 (2004).

CRB affirmed trier’s factual finding that HIV did not constitute an occupational disease for correction officers. Testimony from doctors supported finding that HIV transmission was unlikely to occur via spattered blood on skin and via the other types of contact with human secretions most often experienced by such officers. Fact that HIV is unusually prevalent in prison population did not itself demonstrate that guards were at high risk of being exposed to the immune deficiency virus. Supreme Court reversed, holding that HIV is peculiar to and distinctively associated with the job of correction officer in an emergency response unit, as claimant was required to interact with inmates with high HIV infection rate in ways that increased risk of contracting HIV. See also, Doe, § 31-294c and, § 31-275(16).

Keegan v. Aetna Life & Casualty, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 340, 1793 CRB-1-93-8 (April 27, 1995), aff’d, 42 Conn. App. 803 (1996), cert. denied, 239 Conn. 942 (1996).

Claimant suffered a hip injury when struck with a piece of luggage. Said injury exacerbated a formerly quiescent synovial chondromatosis condition in her left hip. Held, the commissioner correctly concluded that said condition was not an occupational disease, as the synovial chondromatosis itself had no connection with the claimant’s employment. The work-related injury here was an accidental injury. See also, Keegan, § 31-294c.

Nanni v. Rhone-Poulenc Chemical Co., Inc., 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 200, 1709 CRB-4-93-4 (March 30, 1995).

Claimant suffered panic disorder and depression due to confined work space, which the trial commissioner found to be an occupational disease. CRB concluded injury was not an occupational disease, as claimant did not demonstrate that confined work space was distinctively associated with the claimant’s profession as a transportation specialist. CRB remanded for determination of whether claim was filed within one year as required by § 31-294c. See also, Nanni, § 31-294c.

Freeman v. Hull Dye & Print, 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 259, 1516 CRB-5-92-9 (June 2, 1994), rev’d on other grounds, 39 Conn. App. 717 (1995).

Evidence supports trier’s findings and conclusion within reasonable medical probability that decedent was exposed to Benzedrine in the workplace during his employment which exposure was a substantial factor in causing his bladder cancer and subsequent death. See also, Freeman, § 31-294c and § 31-301. Appeal procedure.

Sellew v. Northeast Utilities, 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 135, 1422 CRB-8-92-5 (April 7, 1994), dismissed for lack of final judgment, A.C. 13541, 13542 (June 14, 1995).

Long-term exposure to asbestos was a major causative role of decedent’s lung cancer and subsequent death. See also, Sellew, § 31-294c, § 31-310 and § 52-572r.

Castelvetro v. Gravymaster, Inc., 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 210, 1463 CRB-3-92-7 (March 15, 1994).

See, Fritz, infra.

Fritz v. Gravymaster, Inc., 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 208, 1462 CRB-3-92-7 (March 15, 1994).

Trier found claimant suffered a compensable injury, specifically “Tight Building Syndrome,” caused by exposure to poor air exchange at place of employment. However, trier rejected claimant’s claim that she suffered a work-related injury or occupational disease known as “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome,” finding instead that those symptoms were not caused by her employment.

Cloutier v. C.N. Flagg, 11 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 304, 1352 CRD-2-91-11 (December 23, 1993).

Claimant, a sheet metal worker for a number of construction companies, was exposed to asbestos. It was found that the asbestos exposure was a substantial contributing factor to claimant’s lung cancer. See also, Cloutier, § 31-299b.

Gargano v. General Dynamics Corporation/Electric Boat Division, 11 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 287, 1285 CRD-2-91-8 (December 7, 1993).

Trier found decedent’s work exposure to asbestos was a substantial factor in the development of his gastrointestinal cancer and apportioned liability accordingly. CRB remanded matter as trier must determine if claim against insurer should be dismissed where there is no evidence presented showing decedent was exposed to asbestos during period where said insurer covered employer for workers’ compensation purposes. See also, Gargano, § 31-299b.

Muldoon v. Homestead Insulation, 10 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 255, 1226 CRD-4-91-5 (January 13, 1993), rev’d, 33 Conn. App. 695 (1994), rev’d, 231 Conn. 469 (1994), aff’d on remand, 37 Conn. App. 266 (1995)(per curiam).

Continued exposure to asbestos in the workplace subsequent to stipulation caused claimant’s condition to worsen, and subsequent increased impairment was a new injury which arose out of and in the course of employment. Therefore, increased disability due to asbestos exposure was not barred by prior stipulation. Affirmed finding that Cummings Insulation was the last employer subjecting claimant to asbestos exposure. See also, Muldoon, § 31-275(1), § 31-296, § 31-299b, § 31-315 and § 31-284(a). Subsequent decisions.

Hansen v. Robert Gordon, D.D.S., 8 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 181, 856 CRD-1-89-4 (December 14, 1990), aff’d, 221 Conn. 29 (1992).

Hepatitis Type B contracted by dental hygienist found to be an occupational disease. See also, Hansen, § 31-308(a).

Bergin v. Waterbury, 5 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 156, 537 CRD-5-86 (August 2, 1988).

CRD held malignant mesothelioma resulting from school principal’s exposure to asbestos could be compensable as an occupational disease. Matter remanded for further hearings.

Cortes v. Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corp., 1 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 173, 61 CRD-3-81 (August 18, 1982).

Resultant lung cancer stemming from claimant’s exposure to asbestos was an occupational disease.

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