Sec. 31-300. Award as judgment. Interest. Attorney’s fee. Procedure on discontinuance or reduction. As soon as may be after the conclusion of any hearing, but no later than one hundred twenty days after such conclusion, the commissioner shall send to each party a written copy of the commissioner’s findings and award. The commissioner shall, as part of the written award, inform the employee or the employee’s dependent, as the case may be, of any rights the individual may have to an annual cost-of-living adjustment or to participate in a rehabilitation program administered by the Department of Rehabilitation Services under the provisions of this chapter. The commissioner shall retain the original findings and award in said commissioner’s office. If no appeal from the decision is taken by either party within twenty days thereafter, such award shall be final and may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment of the Superior Court. The court may issue execution upon any uncontested or final award of a commissioner in the same manner as in cases of judgments rendered in the Superior Court; and, upon the filing of an application to the court for an execution, the commissioner in whose office the award is on file shall, upon the request of the clerk of said court, send to the clerk a certified copy of such findings and award. In cases where, through the fault or neglect of the employer or insurer, adjustments of compensation have been unduly delayed, or where through such fault or neglect, payments have been unduly delayed, the commissioner may include in the award interest at the rate prescribed in section 37-3a and a reasonable attorney’s fee in the case of undue delay in adjustments of compensation and may include in the award in the case of undue delay in payments of compensation, interest at twelve per cent per annum and a reasonable attorney’s fee. Payments not commenced within thirty-five days after the filing of a written notice of claim shall be presumed to be unduly delayed unless a notice to contest the claim is filed in accordance with section 31-297. In cases where there has been delay in either adjustment or payment, which delay has not been due to the fault or neglect of the employer or insurer, whether such delay was caused by appeals or otherwise, the commissioner may allow interest at such rate, not to exceed the rate prescribed in section 37-3a, as may be fair and reasonable, taking into account whatever advantage the employer or insurer, as the case may be, may have had from the use of the money, the burden of showing that the rate in such case should be less than the rate prescribed in section 37-3a to be upon the employer or insurer. In cases where the claimant prevails and the commissioner finds that the employer or insurer has unreasonably contested liability, the commissioner may allow to the claimant a reasonable attorney’s fee. No employer or insurer shall discontinue or reduce payment on account of total or partial incapacity under any such award, if it is claimed by or on behalf of the injured person that such person’s incapacity still continues, unless such employer or insurer notifies the commissioner and the employee of such proposed discontinuance or reduction in the manner prescribed in section 31-296 and the commissioner specifically approves such discontinuance or reduction in writing. The commissioner shall render the decision within fourteen days of receipt of such notice and shall forward to all parties to the claim a copy of the decision not later than seven days after the decision has been rendered. If the decision of the commissioner finds for the employer or insurer, the injured person shall return any wrongful payments received from the day designated by the commissioner as the effective date for the discontinuance or reduction of benefits. Any employee whose benefits for total incapacity are discontinued under the provisions of this section and who is entitled to receive benefits for partial incapacity as a result of an award, shall receive those benefits commencing the day following the designated effective date for the discontinuance of benefits for total incapacity. In any case where the commissioner finds that the employer or insurer has discontinued or reduced any such payment without having given such notice and without the commissioner having approved such discontinuance or reduction in writing, the commissioner shall allow the claimant a reasonable attorney’s fee together with interest at the rate prescribed in section 37-3a on the discontinued or reduced payments.
(1949 Rev., S. 7449; 1951, S. 3049d; 1958 Rev., S. 31-176; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 22; 1967, P.A. 692, S. 1; 842, S. 10; P.A. 75-122; P.A. 79-80; P.A. 83-114, S. 2; P.A. 84-180, S. 2; 84-299, S. 3; P.A. 85-64, S. 1, 2; P.A. 88-106, S. 3; P.A. 89-17; 89-316, S. 1; P.A. 91-339, S. 19; P.A. 93-228, S. 13, 35; P.A. 01-22, S. 3; P.A. 11-44, S. 49; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1, S. 86.)
History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1967 acts deleted references to “original findings” and specified that claimant may be allowed reasonable attorneys fees where commissioner finds that employer or insurer has unreasonably contested liability; P.A. 75-122 added provisions re procedure for discontinuance of payments; P.A. 79-80 specified that 6% interest applies “in the case of undue delay in adjustments of compensation”, allowed 12% interest where there is undue delay in payments and defined undue delay; P.A. 83-114 provided that the commissioner shall inform the individual, as part of the written award, of his rights to an annual cost-of-living adjustment under this chapter; P.A. 84-180 required the commissioner to inform the employee in the award of his right to participate in a rehabilitation program; P.A. 84-299 provided that payments not made within 35 days after the filing of a claim shall be considered “unduly delayed” unless the claim has been timely contested; P.A. 85-64 required the commissioner to send each party a written copy of his award within 120 days of the conclusion of hearings on the claim; P.A. 88-106 added the provisions regarding reduction of benefits and provided for an award of attorneys’ fees in cases of undue delay in adjustments and payments resulting from the fault or neglect of an employer or insurer; P.A. 89-17 increased the rate of interest from 6% to 10% for all cases except cases where payments are discontinued or reduced without notice and approval; P.A. 89-316 changed the rates of allowable interest from specific percentages enacted under P.A. 89-17 to the rate prescribed in Sec. 37-3a; P.A. 91-339 required the commissioner to send to each party a written copy of his findings; P.A. 93-228 added provisions modifying procedures re discontinuances or reductions in workers’ compensation benefits, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 01-22 increased time for taking an appeal from the decision of the commissioner from 10 to 20 days and made technical changes for the purpose of gender neutrality; P.A. 11-44 added provision re rehabilitation program administered by Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, effective July 1, 2011; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1 replaced “Bureau of Rehabilitative Services” with “Department of Rehabilitation Services”, effective July 1, 2012.
What the finding should contain. 90 C. 540; 94 C. 262; Id., 627; 96 C. 354; 97 C. 78; 114 C. 393; 117 C. 603. Commissioner may make his memorandum of decision part of the finding. 100 C. 389; 103 C. 104; Id., 428. Prolix and evidential finding criticized. Id., 708. Commissioner must expressly find subordinate facts on which his conclusions rest. 104 C. 463. When award not appealed from, finding becomes final on subsequent hearing for further compensation. 109 C. 599. When award becomes final judgment. 112 C. 370. When it appears claimant may establish claim on retrial, case is remanded. 118 C. 29; 130 C. 1. Motion to erase proper method to raise question whether there was a judgment from which appeal might be taken. 123 C. 103. Finding as to causal connection. Id., 405. Correction of finding. 124 C. 296; 130 C. 423; Id., 478; Id., 482. Finding of incapacity must be based on extent and consequent loss of earning power due to susceptibility due to dermatitis. 125 C. 140. Award may be enforced in same manner as judgment of Superior Court. 126 C. 491. Judgment of Superior Court interlocutory ruling, not final. Id., 522. Cited. 165 C. 338. All appeals since 1972 amendments should be taken from Court of Common Pleas; hence reservation from Superior Court under Sec. 31-324 was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. 168 C. 84. Cited. 169 C. 646; 208 C. 576; 212 C. 441; 219 C. 439; 224 C. 441; 237 C. 71; Id., 378. Attorney’s fees awarded under section do not constitute “payments due under an award” pursuant to Sec. 31-303, and are not subject to penalty as a late payment thereunder. 260 C. 21.
Where no specific time limit set under statute for finding and award to be made, commissioner does not lose jurisdiction to render decision after certain lapse of time. 2 CA 689. Cited. 7 CA 142; 12 CA 138; 21 CA 464; 22 CA 539; judgment reversed, see 219 C. 439; 26 CA 194; 28 CA 113; 33 CA 667; 39 CA 717; 40 CA 36; 45 CA 324; Id., 499. Plaintiff’s conduct constituted an implied waiver of her right to have commissioner’s decision vacated for failure to issue decision within time limit. 49 CA 339. Court was within discretion to deny request to execute a voluntary agreement that was not a final settlement; section granted trial court subject matter jurisdiction in matter. 58 CA 45. Finding that employer or insurer acted in an unreasonable manner or caused undue delay is necessary to predicate an order to pay attorney’s fees pursuant to statute. 65 CA 592. Where commissioner failed to issue decision within mandatory time period and defendant objected to decision on the day of its eventual issuance, it was held that defendant had not waived any objection to the late issuance since there is no requirement that a party object to a decision prior to its issuance. 72 CA 497. A challenge to commission’s jurisdiction when employee and employer have entered into a voluntary agreement does not in itself constitute acting in an unreasonable manner, and a determination otherwise would discourage parties from quickly entering into such agreements. 123 CA 753. Award of “reasonable attorney’s fees” issued under section may, at the discretion of commissioner, include fees accrued by paralegals. 152 CA 116.
Award has the force of judgment but execution on plaintiff’s award was denied where defendant had action pending in Superior Court to determine whether plaintiff could keep award and retain proceeds from a Massachusetts death action based on same loss. 27 CS 382. Cited. 28 CS 5; 39 CS 386.