State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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CRB Case Annotations re: Section 5-142(a)

Disability compensation for certain state employees (full pay).

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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.

Lewis v. State/Department of Correction, 5677 CRB-4-11-8 (August 15, 2012)

Claimant injured as prison guard and resigned prior to being deemed totally disabled. Parties later executed voluntary agreement accepting case under § 5-142(a) C.G.S. After claimant had received 5 years of full disability benefits, he noticed he had not received annual increments and claimed same. Trial commissioner awarded increments and found unreasonable contest and undue delay. Respondents appealed, arguing members of “inactive payroll” not entitled to annual increments. CRB affirmed trial commissioner. Plain meaning of statute made it mandatory obligation to compensate disabled hazardous duty workers at same rate as active employees for 260 weeks. Legislative history and principles of statutory construction were unsupportive of respondent’s argument. Respondent failed to perform statutory obligation. Respondent’s laches argument that claimant waited too long unmeritorious on appeal, trial commissioner resolved facts in adverse manner to respondent. Failure to perform statutory obligation creates factual predicate to levy sanctions, see Wikander, et al v. Asbury Automotive Group/David McDavid Acura, 5586 CRB-4-10-9 (September 8, 2011). See also, Lewis, § 31-288(b); § 31-300.

Cadore v. State/UConn Health Center, 5581 CRB-4-10-8 (July 18, 2012)

Claimant employed as correctional nurse and injured lifting prisoner into transport van. Trial commissioner awarded hazardous pay benefits finding claimant a “member” of correctional institution and circumstances of injury involved a “special hazard.” Respondent appealed, arguing nurses not covered by statute and no special hazard existed at time of incident. CRB upheld award. Evidence was claimant worked continuously at jail since 1993 and was integral part of staff there, making her a “member” of the institution. Trial commissioner credited testimony that the claimant had never lifted an nonambulatory prisoner into a prisoner transport van (not a handicapped accessible van) prior to incident when she was hurt, and perceived a hostile environment in the van from other inmates. This, based on precedent in Nelson v. State, 99 Conn. App. 808 (2007), was sufficient to create a “special hazard” at time of injury.

Ransome v. Judicial Branch, 5598 CRB-3-10-10 (September 12, 2011)

Claimant injured on job and was originally totally disabled; later recovered and rated with sedentary work capacity. Respondent filed Form 36 to end total disability payments; later separated claimant from employment. Claimant sought reinstatement to post via § 5-142(a) claiming he was entitled to five years of total disability benefits prior to being terminated. Trial commissioner rejected claim. CRB affirmed decision on appeal. Entitlement to temporary total disability benefits contingent on continuing disability.

Rosa v. State/DCF, 5475 CRB-8-09-7 (June 22, 2010).

Claimant asserted he fractured his foot restraining child. Trial commissioner found claimant credible and treating physician confirmed causation of injury. CRB upheld decision on appeal; issue of causation in case was a factual matter appellate body could not revisit. See also, Rosa, § 31-275(1) and § 31-301. Factual findings.

Jamieson v. State/Military Dept., 5471 CRB-1-09-6 (June 16, 2010), aff’d, 132 Conn. App. 225 (2011).

Claimant employed as fireman for state military department and also was employed by Air National Guard. Claimant developed atrial fibrillation September 5, 2006 and had subsequent cardiac event September 10, 2006 while at Guard drill. Respondent argued claimant federal employee. Trial commissioner found claimant spent vast majority of time working for state. Respondent appealed. CRB upheld; state stipulated claimant among workers covered by § 5-145a C.G.S. Appellate Court affirmed decision on appeal. See also, Jamieson, § 5-145a, § 31-278, § 31-294c, § 31-301. Factual findings.

Goulbourne v. State/Department of Correction, 5461 CRB-1-09-5 (May 12, 2010).

Trial commissioner had sufficient evidence to support finding that claimant’s cardiac disease was caused by work-related stress. Under the repetitive trauma standard claim was commenced in timely manner. See also, Goulbourne, § 31-275(16), § 31-294c, § 31-294f, § 31-298, § 31-301. Appeal procedure, § 31-301. Factual findings, § 31-301-9. Prior decision at Goulbourne v. State/Department of Correction, 5192 CRB-1-07-1 (January 17, 2008).

Cascella v. State/Department of Correction, 5390 CRB-4-08-10 (October 28, 2009).

Claimant, a corrections officer, sustained compensable lower back injury in falldown while responding to “code white” for prison inmate attempting suicide. Trial commissioner awarded hazardous duty benefits pursuant to § 5-142(a) C.G.S. for six-month period immediately following the injury and subsequent three year period during which claimant underwent two surgeries. Respondent filed Motion to Correct which was denied in its entirety. CRB reversed, concluding correspondence from claimant’s prior counsel to workers’ compensation commissioner constituted unambiguous election of temporary total incapacity benefits pursuant to § 31 307 C.G.S. CRB declined to address claimant’s eligibility for hazardous duty based on particular circumstances under which claimant sustained injury. See also, Cascella, § 31 301-4, § 31-307.

Nordstrom v. State/Dept. of Correction, 5376 CRB 2-08-9 (June 19, 2009).

Claimant injured jumping up from chair during confrontation with inmate at correctional facility. Respondent argued facts did not rise to level of “special hazard” to award benefits under statute. Trial commissioner granted benefits and CRB upheld. Nelson v. State, 99 Conn. App. 808 (2007) calls for more expansive reading of statute than respondent assert.

Delarosa v. State/Department of Correction, 5322 CRB-8-08-2 (February 9, 2009).

CRB affirmed commissioner’s conclusion that § 5-142(a) does not require annual increments and adjustments to claimant’s compensation rate after the 260th week. Commissioner’s decision consistent with plain meaning required by § 1-2z.

Kennedy v. State/Dept. of Correction, 5238 CRB-1-07-6 (June 26, 2008).

Trial commissioner awarded claimant temporary total disability during period after respondent sent claimant home from light duty job. Respondent appealed as there was no medical evidence on record claimant was totally disabled during this period. CRB remanded as there was inadequate basis for temporary total award, bureaucratic limitations, not medical condition caused claimant to be sent home. See also Kennedy, § 31-307, § 31-308(a).

Nelson v. State/Judicial Department, 4783 CRB-7-04-2 (October 3, 2005), rev’d, 99 Conn. App. 808 (2007).

CRB deferred to commissioner’s factual findings and affirmed commissioner’s conclusion claimant was not entitled to full pay under § 5-142(a). Appellate Court reversed, holding that claimant was attending a prisoner when injured, which injury was direct result of special hazard inherent in judicial marshal’s duties. See also, Nelson, § 31-301. Factual findings.

Maturo v. State/Office of County Sheriff, 4868 CRB-3-04-9 (September 23, 2005).

CRB affirmed trial commissioner’s denial of § 5-142(a) benefits to sheriff injured while participating in training exercise simulating the use of handcuffs for restraint.

Hudson v. State/Dept. of Correction, 4582 CRB-3-02-11 (October 31, 2003).

CRB affirmed commissioner’s finding claimant was entitled to full pay under § 5-142(a) when injury occurred while claimant was responding to an inmate’s attempted suicide. See also, Hudson, § 31-300, § 31-301. Appeal procedure.

Johnson v. State/Department of Correction, 4162 CRB-1-99-12 (January 25, 2001), aff’d, 67 Conn. App. 330 (2001), cert. granted, 259 Conn. 924 (2002).

CRB reversed trier’s award of full salary benefits to prison guard who was injured when he caught inmate as inmate slipped exiting shower. Claimant was not “restraining” inmate within meaning of statute, as he acted instinctively, and without the impression that inmate was attempting to behave in hostile manner that required the sort of “restraint” that is an especially hazardous component of prison guard’s duties.

Bouchard v. State/Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction, 4120 CRB-8-99-9 (July 28, 2000).

CRB reversed trial commissioner’s conclusion that claimant’s injuries were a direct result of the special hazards inherent in his duties. Claimant, a supervisor at Whiting Forensic Institute, injured his ankle when he fell to the ground while playing volleyball with inmates and other staffers. Though it was reasonable to find that injury occurred during the course of the claimant’s “attending” duties, there was no evidence to show that the particular situation in which the claimant was injured was especially hazardous. History of P.A. 91-339 and circumstances of amendment’s adoption indicate that claimant must demonstrate a direct connection between the unusual threat posed by patients at the institute and the injury actually suffered.

Herbert v. State/Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services/Cedarcrest, 3766 CRB-6-98-2 (May 13, 1999).

CRB affirmed trier’s decision that claimant, who contracted tuberculosis in 1957 while she was working at Cedarcrest as part of her nursing school training and also earning wages for working hospital shifts, was entitled to COLAs under § 31-307a. The claimant did not specifically elect to be compensated under § 5-142(b) instead of the total disability section of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The respondent’s written acceptance of her condition as compensable, followed by its payment of $12 per week to her (the statutory minimum under the Act at the time of her injury) for the next several decades, is evidence that the case was accepted under the predecessor to § 31-307 instead of the predecessor to § 5-142. See also, Herbert, § 31-307a.

Courtright v. State/Connecticut Valley Hospital, 3573 CRB-6-97-4 (June 5, 1998).

Cost of living adjustments pursuant to § 31-307a are not applicable to § 5-142(a) benefits. See also, Courtright, § 31-301-4, § 31-315.

Lessard v. State, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 212, 1753 CRB-5-93-6 (March 30, 1995).

“Full salary” under statute does not include everything included in “wages” and “earnings,” as discussed in Vecca v. State, 29 Conn. App. 559 (1992). Commissioner properly excluded daily meal allowance, police dog maintenance stipend, and clothing stipend under Vecca. Also, nothing prevented commissioner from inferring from stipulation that state police officer’s dog handler and resident trooper pay were not salary adjustments within statute.

Gray v. State/Fairfield Hills Hospital, 12 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 279, 1476 CRB-4-92-8 (June 7, 1994).

Trier found claimant, a rehabilitation therapist, sustained an injury which occurred while “restraining” a mentally retarded patient. Claimant’s injury was a direct result of the special hazards inherent in such duties and therefore claimant was entitled to full pay provisions under the Act. See, Lucarelli v. State, 16 Conn. App. 65 (1988).

Masi v. State/Dept. of Revenue Services, 11 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 231, 1342 CRD-6-91-11 (November 8, 1993).

Claimant, a special police officer, denied § 5-142(a) benefits as his injury was sustained in a motor vehicle accident while driving to perform an inspection. Injury did not occur while in the actual performance of the inspection. See, Stuart v. Dept. of Correction, 221 Conn. 41 (1992).

Gillette v. State/J.B. Gates Correctional Unit, 10 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 69, 1145 CRD-2-90-11 (March 26, 1992), vacated and reissued (July 8, 1992).

Trier found claimant, who was on his way to lunch when he slipped and fell sustaining a compensable injury was not entitled to § 5-142(a) full pay benefits as claimant was not in the actual performance of his guard duties at the time of his injury. See, Stuart v. Dept. of Correction, 221 Conn. 41 (1992). See also, Gillette, § 31-315, and § 31-296.

Vecca v. State/Whiting Forensic Institute, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 280, 1123 CRD-8-90-10 (December 16, 1991), aff’d, 29 Conn. App. 559 (1992).

CRD reversed trier’s finding which awarded claimant overtime pay, shift differential and maintenance allowance sums in computing full salary under provisions of § 5-142(a). See, Supreme Court’s decision in Jones v. State/Mansfield Training School, 220 Conn. 721 (1992) and Trinkley v. State/Ella Grasso Regional Center, 220 Conn. 739 (1992) where court held state employees have a choice whether to collect benefits under § 5-142(a) or Chapter 568.

Stuart v. State/Dept. of Correction, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 81, 932 CRD-2-89-10 (February 26, 1991), rev’d, 221 Conn. 41 (1992).

CRD relied on Lucarelli v. State, 4 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 58, 262 CRD-4-83 (April 27, 1987), aff’d, 16 Conn. App. 65 (1988), finding claimant, a food service supervisor, was entitled to full pay. Supreme Court held claimant was not in the actual performance of guard duties at the time of injury.

Trinkley v. State/Ella Grasso Regional Center, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 58, 924 CRD-5-89-10 (February 6, 1991), rev’d, 220 Conn. 739 (1992).

CRD reversed trial commissioner and held that state employee eligible for benefits pursuant to § 5-142(a) was not entitled to concurrent employment benefits pursuant to § 31-310. Supreme Court reversed CRD and held a claimant who is eligible to receive benefits pursuant to § 5-142(a) may elect to have benefits calculated under § 31-310 which allows for concurrent employment. See also, Trinkley, § 31-301, Appeal procedure. See, Benoit v. State/Norwich State Hospital, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 58, 920 CRD-2-89-9 (February 6, 1991), infra.

Benoit v. State/Norwich State Hospital, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 58, 920 CRD-2-89-9 (February 6, 1991).

State employee receiving full salary benefits under § 5-142(a) is not entitled to concurrent employment benefits pursuant to § 31-310. See also, Benoit, § 31-310. N.B. See, Trinkley, supra.

Jones v. State/Mansfield Training School, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 53, 986 CRD-2-90-2 (February 4, 1991), rev’d, 220 Conn. 721 (1992).

CRD reversed trial commissioner’s conclusion claimant could choose to elect benefits pursuant to § 31-307 rather than § 5-142(a). Supreme Court reversed CRB holding that § 5-142(a) is designed to enhance benefits. Section 5-142(a) is not an exclusive remedy. Employee can pursue benefits under an alternate statute to allow a greater recovery. Also the word “shall” as used in § 5-142(a) is directory rather than mandatory. Dissenting opinion argue that language in § 5-142(a) is clear, “shall” is “shall.” But see, Palmer v. State, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 53, 900 CRD-4-89-7 (February 4, 1991), infra.

Palmer v. State/Fairfield Hills, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 53, 900 CRD-4-89-7 (February 4, 1991).

Overtime earnings by state employees are not part of the full salary provisions in § 5-142(a), therefore overtime should not be considered when calculating benefits. See also, Palmer, § 31-307.

DiBenedetto v. State/University of Connecticut Health Center, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 1, 862 CRD-6-89-5 (January 3, 1991).

In order to receive full pay for first five years, compensability needs to be established by proof that the injury arose out of the performance of duties. See also, DiBenedetto, § 5-145a.

Minotti v. State, 6 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 165, 611 CRD-2-87 (June 2, 1989).

See, Minotti, § 31-296.

Harper v. State, 4 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 113, 319 CRD-1-84 (October 15, 1987).

Claimant not entitled to full pay where injuries sustained did not occur while attending or restraining an inmate.

Lucarelli v. State, 4 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 58, 262 CRD-4-83 (April 27, 1987), no error, 16 Conn. App. 65 (1988).

To secure benefit of full pay under statute claimant needs only to show injury was sustained in the performance of guard duties.

Estabrook v. State, 3 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 79, 310 CRD-2-84 (November 5, 1986).

Claimant entitled to full pay benefits where employment status changed to full time.

Lamke v. State, 3 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 41, 193 CRD-2-83 (1986).

Claimant who works for state agency which treats persons afflicted with mental defects entitled to full pay even though agency is not in the Department of Mental Health.

Heckman v. State, 1 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 79, 57 CRD-6-81 (December 8, 1981).

Employee of alcoholic treatment center entitled to full pay.

Lockwood v. State, 1 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 57, 32 CRD-4-80 (September 17, 1981).

Nurse entitled to full pay when injured while attending a mentally ill patient.

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