State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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CRB Case Annotations re: Section 31-307b

Relapse/Recurrent injuries.

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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.

Czyrko v. State/UConn Health Center, 5901 CRB-6-13-12 (December 4, 2014).

Claimant asserted that her compensation rate for permanent partial disability should be set as of the date of incapacity, and not the date of injury; citing § 31-307b. Trial commissioner applied date of injury standard and CRB affirmed; citing plain meaning of statutes such as § 31-308(b) and § 31-310. See also, Czyrko, § 31-308(b); § 31-310.

Gill v. Bescome Barton, Inc., 5659 CRB-8-11-06 (June 1, 2012).

See also, Gill, § 31-299b.

Camp v. State/Capital Community Technical College, 5401 CRB-1-08-11 (November 17, 2009).

See also, Camp, § 31-294d, § 31-301. Appeal procedure, § 31-301. Factual findings, § 31-307.

Kaspern v. Estes Express Lines, 5391 CRB-8-08-11 (November 17, 2009).

Claimant sustained compensable left shoulder injury while employed by Estes Express as a tractor trailer driver for Home Depot. Claimant subsequently left Estes Express and went to work for Lowe’s as a tractor trailer driver. Claimant ultimately sought authorization for surgery to left shoulder and trier assigned liability to Estes Express. Respondent Estes Express appealed, contending claimant’s ongoing symptoms and need for surgery were due to his employment with Lowe’s in light of claimant’s testimony that jobs with Estes and Lowe’s were “identical”. Estes also argued trier erred in failing to find, consistent with Harpaz v. Laidlaw Transit, Inc., 286 Conn. 102 (2008), Lowe’s was precluded from contesting liability based on its failure to file Form 43 in response to second Form 30C filed by claimant alleging repetitive trauma. CRB affirmed, citing medical reports in evidence and noting claimant testified he made more than twice as many deliveries per week for Estes and was required to lift heavier objects. CRB declined to address issue of preclusion given it could be reasonably inferred trier concluded claimant was entitled to recovery on basis of first, timely Form 30C and second Form 30C was unnecessary and legally irrelevant. Trier denied Motion to Correct. See also, Kaspern, § 31 275(1), § 31-301. Factual Findings, § 31-301-4, § 31-349.

Marroquin v. F. Monarca Masonry, 5310 CRB-4-07-12 (December 19, 2008).

Claimant sustained a compensable inguinal hernia in June 2001 for which he underwent surgical treatment. In September 2004, while working for a different employer, claimant alleged he injured himself in a lifting incident and underwent additional surgery in October 2004 and June 2005. Respondents, who were “on the risk” at the time of the original hernia injury, contend second incident represented an aggravation of the hernia injury which, per Epps v. Beiersdorf, Inc., 41 Conn. App. 430 (1996), constitutes a separate and distinct disability and, consistent with the provisions of § 31-349 C.G.S., confers liability on the employer at the time of the second injury. Trial commissioner determined claimant’s need for surgery in October 2004 and June 2005 arose from complications stemming from prior surgical repair of the 2001 compensable hernia, thereby conferring liability on the respondents, consistent with the provisions of § 31-307b C.G.S. CRB affirmed on basis that matter could be distinguished from Epps in light of evidentiary submissions. Trier also denied Motion to Correct. See also, Marroquin, § 31-275(1), § 31-301. Factual Findings, § 31-301-4, § 31-349.

Mikula v. First National Supermarkets, Inc., 3754 CRB-3-97-12 (May 11, 1999), aff’d, 60 Conn. App. 592 (2000).

Trier’s decision that back injury was a new injury rather than a recurrence affirmed by CRB. Factual determination for trial commissioner. Claimant was performing duties outside work restriction when injured. See also, Mikula, § 31-308(a).

Martinez v. Gordon Rubber & Packaging Co., 3348 CRB-4-96-6 (May 4, 1998).

The trial commissioner determined that claimant sustained a new injury to his back rather than an aggravation of a prior back injury. CRB identified no medical evidence in the record to support trial commissioner’s determination, and thus remanded for further proceedings. Subsequent decision at Martinez, 3828 CRB-5-98-6 (July 22, 1999), § 31-279-3.

Desantis v. Middlebury, 3182 CRB-5-95-10 (February 27, 1997).

See, Desantis, § 31-301.

Hanzlik v. James Freccia Auto Body, 15 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 2, 1984 CRB-7-94-3 (November 1, 1995), aff’d, 43 Conn. App. 908 (1996)(per curiam).

See, Hanzlik, § 31-275(1).

Greenhalgh v. General Dynamics Corporation/Electric Boat Division, 14 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 174, 2063 CRB-2-94-5 (June 29, 1995).

CRB affirmed commissioner’s conclusion that claimant suffered a relapse of a back injury rather than a new injury. Respondents in their appeal sought to retry the facts, which this board will not do.

McBreairty v. D.B.D., Inc., 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 259, 1781 CRB-7-93-7 (April 18, 1995).

Where the circumstances could arguably support a finding of either a recurrent injury or a new injury, the commissioner has the power to make that factual determination. Sufficient evidence existed to support finding that claimant’s injuries were both new injuries. See also, McBreairty, § 31-301. Appeal procedure.

Cote v. Pratt & Whitney Aerospace Co., 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 243, 1636 CRB-2-93-2 (April 17, 1995).

Claimant suffered first injury while employed by Pratt, and reinjured back many years later with different employer. Held, version of statute effective at time of injury controls. No requirement that employee continue to work for same employer for statute to apply; employer still has duty to provide benefits to disabled employee whose original injury was compensable. Statute also provides for COLAs. See also, Cote, § 31-309.

Uva v. Valleries Transportation Service, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 106, 1625 CRB-7-93-1 (January 30, 1995).

Despite power of commissioner to make factual findings, no evidence existed to support the conclusion that claimant’s back problem resulted solely from repetitive trauma rather than from recurrence of original injury. Remanded. See also, Uva, § 31-301. Factual findings.

Elderkin v. Hamilton Pavilion, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 99, 1650 CRB-2-93-2 (January 25, 1995), aff’d, 40 Conn. App. 943 (1996)(per curiam), motion for reconsideration denied (May 2, 1996), cert. denied, 237 Conn. 925 (1996).

Determination of new injury vs. recurrence is one for trial commissioner to make. Here, evidence existed to support determination that injury resulting from fall down stairs was not caused by prior compensable injury. Commissioner had discretion not to rely on testimony that first injury was substantial factor in causing second injury, and had discretion to determine that accident constituted an intervening cause.

Perry v. Union Lyceum Taxi Co., 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 16, 1695 CRB-4-93-4 (November 3, 1994).

Commissioner found claimant’s back injury was a recurrence of an earlier injury and ordered prior employer’s insurer to compensate claimant. Respondents argued that findings required conclusion that claimant suffered a new injury under § 31-275. Held, question of new injury or recurrence is a factual determination for the commissioner. Circumstances could have supported a finding either way. Affirmed.

Capone v. UTC/Sikorsky Aircraft, 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 419, 1468 CRB-4-92-7 (September 29, 1994).

Trier erred in denying claim for § 31-307b benefits by holding claimant never recovered from an earlier back injury although he returned to work. By reasoning in Mulligan v. F.S. Electric, 231 Conn. 529 1994), 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 91, 1424 CRB-4-92-5 (February 15, 1994). CRB reversed trier concluding claimant need not make a full recovery to be eligible for § 31-307b benefits, it is enough that he recovered sufficiently so that he no longer was eligible for § 31-307 total disability benefits. (Doyle, C., DISSENTING) Disagree with majority opinion and application in Mulligan. Opposing view on statutory language “return to work” and “after recovery.” Trier’s finding that claimant did not fully recover from a 1985 injury is supported by the evidence and should be affirmed on appeal.

Maldonado v. Connecticut Container, 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 350, 1681 CRB-3-93-4 (July 29, 1994).

CRB affirmed finding that back surgery was due to an earlier compensable injury and not caused by later workplace repetitive trauma or a new workplace injury.

Cale v. Correia Excavators, Inc., 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 338, 1662 CRB-1-93-3 (July 8, 1994), aff’d, 39 Conn. App. 905 (1995)(per curiam).

Intervening non work-related injury was the cause of current disability, not a prior compensable injury.

Soares v. Glass Industries, 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 189, 1377 CRB-3-92-1 (May 4, 1994).

Insurer’s contention that claimant suffered two separate knee injuries and payment for the later injury was paid by mistake unpersuasive. Whether an injury is new or a recurrence is a factual determination. See also, Soares, § 31-297, § 31-300 and § 31-315.

Mulligan v. F.S. Electric, 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 91, 1424 CRB-4-92-5 (February 15, 1994), rev’d in part, 231 Conn. 529 (1994).

CRB reversed trier’s decision. CRB held statute only requires claimant return to work after a relapse or recurrence. The claimant need not make a full recovery. Claimant’s return to work after receiving temporary total benefits entitled him to § 31-307b benefits when he again became totally disabled even though claimant received medical treatment and experienced pain during the period of his return to work. Supreme Court affirmed CRB’s determination. However, reversed CRB on § 31-310 issue. See also, Mulligan, § 31-307 and § 31-310.

Mellor v. Pleasure Valley Mobile Homes, 11 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 270, 1393 CRB-2-92-3 (November 18, 1993).

Trier’s determination that claimant sustained a new back injury by aggravating a previous compensable back injury sufficiently supported by evidence below.

Erickson v. Grand Union Company, 11 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 127, 1325 CRD-7-91-10 (June 16, 1993).

Claimant failed to prove that the back pain he experienced constituted a recurrence of a previous compensable back injury.

Snyder v. Americo-U-Haul of Connecticut, 10 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 232, 1219 CRD-5-91-4 (January 7, 1993).

Claim for recurrent back injury denied where claimant failed to seek medical treatment during total disability period claimed until approximately 3 months after alleged recurrence and treating physician’s diagnosis was primarily based on physical exam and subsequent treatment. Also, evidence before trier from IME indicated physician was unable to determine if claimant was totally disabled during period claimed. Remanded on § 31-308(b) issue. See also, Snyder, § 31-308(b).

Watson v. American Cyanamid, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 90, 911 CRD-8-89-8 (March 1, 1991).

Factual finding will not be disturbed on appeal where evidence supports trier’s conclusion.

Colas v. Marriott Food Services, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 86, 939 CRD-7-89-11 (February 26, 1991).

CRD remanded for further proceedings where question of legal causation and medical causation as separate concepts remained unanswered by trier; therefore liability of employer or employers for claimants’ injury or injuries requires determination.

Greiger v. Leake & Nelson, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 17, 890 CRD-4-89-6 (January 10, 1991).

Claimant must receive § 31-307 benefits in order for § 31-307b to apply. See also, Greiger, § 31-294d.

Glynn v. Terry Corporation, 8 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 87, 806 CRD-2-89-1 (May 14, 1990).

Determination of whether injury is a recurrence or relapse of prior injury is a factual determination. See also, Glynn, § 31-349.

Mathieu v. C & M Corp., 5 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 82, 463 CRD-2-86 (May 11, 1988).

Trial commissioner’s determination that an injury was not a recurrence as it was outside the chain of causation stemming from a previous injury affirmed by CRD.

Chirigos v. Bassick Co., 4 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 110, 277 CRD-4-83 (September 24, 1987).

Increase in permanent partial incapacity after relapse will be paid at the rate set at the time of the original injury.

Janov v. General Electric Co., 4 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 44, 491-CRD-4-86 (March 27, 1987).

Whether an injury is a relapse or recurrence of a prior injury is a factual determination to be made by the trial commissioner.

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