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Full texts of opinions, statutes and court decisions should be consulted and all citations and references fully researched by the reader.
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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.
Petraroia v. City News & Tobacco, 15 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 268, 2211 CRB-5-94-11 (June 14, 1996).
Claimant settled third party claim; she, her attorney, and the respondent employer split the $75,000 stipulated judgment evenly three ways, with the employer receiving $25,000 in full satisfaction of its $43,500 workers’ compensation lien. At the time of the stipulation, the case was not ripe for transfer to the Second Injury Fund, which was not made party to the third party action or the stipulated judgment. The case was later transferred to the Fund. The trial commissioner held that the stipulation was not binding on the Fund, and that it should be construed as a voluntary agreement requiring a commissioner’s approval before credit could be waived. He concluded that the Fund was entitled to a $25,000 credit against future compensation due the claimant. Held, although § 31-293 should not be read to require notice of an action to be sent to the Fund before its liability has begun to accrue, the rights granted to the Fund by § 31-352 must be protected to remain meaningful. The trial commissioner is the person best situated to do so. A stipulation constitutes a voluntary agreement under § 31-296, and must be approved by a commissioner to be effective against a nonparty. It can also be modified under § 31-315. Here, it was appropriate to refuse to enforce the stipulation against the Fund, as they had not assented to it. However, the $25,000 setoff ordered by the commissioner would only affect the claimant. As the employer is the party who benefits most from Fund involvement, it should not be allowed to retain the full benefit of the settlement. Remanded for consideration of a modification of the settlement agreement pursuant to § 31-315. See also, Petraroia, § 31-293.