State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Public Meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners

March 5, 2010

June 4, 2010

September 3, 2010  ›

December 3, 2010

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September 3, 2010

A meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners was held on Friday, September 3, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. at the Office of the Chairman, 21 Oak Street, 4th Floor, Hartford, CT.

Agenda Topics

  1. Claims involving Minor Children
  2. Settlements/Annuities
  3. Commissioner’s Examinations
  4. Late Post Judgment Motions
  5. Revised Commissioner’s Notes
  6. Formal Hearings
  7. Social Security Retirement
  8. Form 42 Revisions
  9. Commissioners’ Meeting Schedule (2011)
  10. Chairman’s Update
  • Executive Session

Minutes

A regular meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners was held on Friday, September 3, 2010 at the office of the Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, Capitol Place, 21 Oak Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The meeting convened at 9:30 a.m. with all Commissioners present except Commissioners Senich and Engel. Also present were Marvin Smernoff, Nancy Bonuomo, Vincent Flynn, Madeleine Lemieux, Connie Rue and Nancy Cowell of the Workers' Compensation Commission; and Judge Brian Mahon.

  1. Claims involving Minor Children
    1. Brian Mahon, Judge for the Meriden Probate District, discussed the role of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner in settlements involving minor children. It is his opinion that whenever a surviving spouse with minor children comes before the Commission to settle a case, the Commissioner has an obligation to protect the rights of the minor children through the Probate Court. He distributed copies of applicable statutes, including § 45a-631 which provides that any award to a minor greater than $10,000 requires the appointment of a guardian by the Probate Court. He indicated that any settlement involving a minor would need to first be reviewed and approved by the Probate Judge, who may set up a trust or restricted account for the minor. Costs associated with the Probate Court proceedings would be included in the claimant’s attorney fees. Attorneys negotiating the stipulation should calculate the specific amount to be distributed to the minor children and provide same to the Probate Judge, who would sign an Order approving same. The Chairman indicated that when the stipulation subsequently comes before the Commission, the Order of the Probate Court should be incorporated as an Addendum. Judge Mahon will address this matter with the Probate Judges. Chairman Mastropietro will discuss this issue with the Legal Advisory Panel.
  2. Settlements/Annuities
    1. The Commissioners are in the process of reviewing information from Attorneys Sevarino and Duhamel concerning the Commissioner’s role in educating parties regarding annuities in settlements. The matter was tabled to the next Commissioners’ meeting for further discussion.
  3. Commissioner’s Examinations
    1. The Commissioners reviewed correspondence from Attorney Jacobs indicating his objection to the ordering of a Commissioner’s examination at the conclusion of a formal hearing. It was the consensus of the Commissioners that they have authority to order a Commissioner’s examination whenever in their discretion it appears warranted.
    2. The Chairman requested that Commissioners utilize the Commissioner’s Checklist when ordering a Commissioner’s examination rather than writing it in their notes. For consistency purposes this would be of great help to district staff.
  4. Post Judgment Motions
    1. Commissioners are to rule on post judgment motions within 20 days. For recordkeeping purposes, it was proposed that any motions not acted on within that time frame be deemed “denied” automatically by the system. Letters would be generated notifying the parties of same. The Commissioners approved this procedure.
  5. Revised Commissioner’s Notes
    1. The Chairman stated that within the next few weeks a second page will be added to the Commissioner’s notes, providing information previously found on the hearing notice in addition to the date the hearing notice was sent, who requested the hearing, and a history of cancelled and rescheduled hearings since the last completed hearing.
  6. Formal Hearings
    1. For statistical purposes, a new designation, “pre-trial”, is being added to the system to identify those formal hearings which are resolved by the Commissioner before going on the record. This distinction from a “pre-formal” may help to account for the difference in the number of formal hearings heard by one Commissioner compared to another.
  7. Social Security Retirement
    1. Commissioner Cohen related Commissioner Senich’s suggestion that “Social Security Retirement” be added to Line #8 of the Stipulation Commissioner’s Notes and Line #11 of the Stipulation Questionnaire as the claimant may have exposure to Medicare set-asides. As presently most Commissioners write it in, the Commissioners agreed that the form should be revised. It was also noted that the blank Stipulation form needs to be updated.
  8. Form 42 Revisions
    1. The Commissioners reviewed and approved the revised Form 42 (Physician’s Permanent Impairment Evaluation), which will now request information concerning a patient’s work capacity and any physical restrictions.
  9. Commissioners’ Meeting Schedule (2011)
    1. The Commissioners were polled concerning the frequency of Commissioners’ meetings to be held in 2011. The majority voted for meetings to continue to be held four times a year. A schedule will be forthcoming.
  10. Chairman’s Updates
    1. The Chairman discussed the following:
    1. Pain Management Guidelines:
      1. Drafted by the Connecticut Pain Society, these guidelines have been provided to The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, and Travelers for review.
    2. Hartford Distributors:
      1. Hanover Insurance has designated one individual to assist those filing claims. The Commissioners will monitor those cases and advise the Chairman if any problems occur.
    3. Gallagher Bassett:
      1. The Commissioners will continue to monitor cases involving Gallagher Bassett and advise the Chairman of any problems, e.g., non-appearance at hearings, lack of follow-up, etc.
    4. Commissioner’s Practice Book
      1. Commissioner Salerno reported that she, Nancy Bonuomo and David Sims are in the process of refining the Practice Book, which will be a valuable resource for the Commissioners and provide continuity throughout the Commission. Once completed, drafts will be distributed to all Commissioners.
    5. H.B. No. 5539 re: Judiciary Procedures
      1. The Chairman referenced H.B. No. 5539 concerning the restructuring of the powers and procedures of the Judicial Branch. Although there may be some application to the operations of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, due to budgetary constraints there is little likelihood this will occur in the near future.
    6. Budget
      1. By statute a transition budget must be provided to the Governor-elect by November 15th. Toward that end, all agencies have been required to submit reduction options totaling 15% of their FY 2012 budget request by September 24th (a reduction of approximately $3,150,000 for the Commission). The Chairman discussed various options under consideration to comply with that directive.
    7. Middletown Office
      1. The Chairman provided an update on the status of the Middletown office.
    8. Medical Seminar - October 29th
      1. A medical seminar sponsored by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Connecticut Bar Association will be held at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury on October 29th. No hearings will be scheduled on that date.

There being no further business, Commissioner Delaney made a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Vargas seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: September 6, 2011

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/public-meetings/wc-commissioners/2010/09-03-2010.htm

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