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Lamothe v. Citibank, N.A., 5550 CRB-8-10-5 (October 12, 2011).
Claimant appealed Finding and Award in which trial commissioner declined to enter written award of compensability following respondents’ proffer of voluntary agreement. Claimant also appealed trial’s failure to sanction respondents for unreasonable contest. Respondents moved for dismissal of claim on grounds of untimely filing of Reasons of Appeal. CRB denied motion for dismissal noting that respondents had filed motion for dismissal after ten-day period following expiration of claimant’s deadline and had failed to show prejudice because of claimant’s late filing. CRB affirmed trial commissioner on all grounds. Issuance of approved voluntary agreement does not confer upon trier obligation to find compensability; nor does it constitute a judicial admission. Claimant had opportunity to challenge terms of voluntary agreement in formal proceedings. CRB also held that claimant’s medical history, lack of medical causation report, and circumstances surrounding claimant’s injury, including claimant’s failure to inform her supervisors of the workplace incident, provided adequate support for trier’s determination that respondents did not engage in an unreasonable contest of claim. Trier could reasonably infer that respondents’ failure to produce a witness following a trial commissioner’s order likewise did not constitute unreasonable delay in light of respondents’ initial request for a protective order, claimant counsel’s failure to coordinate deposition scheduling with respondents’ counsel, and witness’s inability to appear because of illness. Respondents’ failure to answer discovery request relative to attendance reports did not compel trier to draw an adverse inference, particularly as respondents’ defense was not solely predicated on claimant’s attendance on date of injury. See also, Lamothe, § 31-278; § 31-296; § 31-300; § 31-301. Appeal Procedure, § 31-301-9.