CASE NO. 3912 CRB-05-98-10
COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION
JULY 22, 1999
TRAVELERS INSURANCE CO.
SECOND INJURY FUND
The claimant was represented by Jack Senich, Esq., Dodd, Lessack, Ranando & Dalton, 700 West Johnson Avenue, Cheshire, CT 06410.
The respondents were represented by Richard Bartlett, Esq., McGann, Bartlett & Brown, 281 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon, CT 06066.
The Second Injury Fund was represented by Taka Iwashita, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, P. O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.
This Petition for Review from the October 5, 1998 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the Fifth District was heard January 22, 1999 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Stephen B. Delaney.
JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The respondent employer and its insurer (“respondents”) have petitioned for review from the October 5, 1998 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the Fifth District.1 In that decision the trial commissioner found that a controverted issue existed regarding whether the claimant’s injury qualified for transfer to the Fund pursuant to § 31-349. Therefore, the trial commissioner submitted the issue to the medical panel in accordance with § 31-349c. In support of their appeal, the respondents contend that § 31-349c violates their due process rights under the Connecticut constitution and the United States constitution, and further contend that § 31-349c is unconstitutionally vague. The respondents have raised only constitutional issues on appeal.
In its brief, the Fund’s sole contention is that this Board does not have jurisdiction to decide constitutional issues. The only issues briefed by the parties on appeal to this Board are constitutional issues, which this Board may not decide. Fish v. Caldor, Inc., Case No. 3840 CRB-7-98-6 (May 11, 1999); see also Trantolo v. Trantolo & Trantolo, P.C., 8 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 69, 70, 823 CRD-6-89-2 (April 17, 1990) (the Compensation Review Board is a tribunal of limited jurisdiction and does not have the authority necessary to determine the constitutionality of a statute).
In Hall v. Gilbert & Bennett Mfg. Co., 241 Conn. 282 (1997), our Supreme Court decided that the use of a medical panel to determine the presence of a preexisting disability pursuant to § 31-349c applies retroactively to any case still pending in which the second injury occurred before July 1, 1995, the effective date of P.A. § 95-277, § 4(a) which is codified in § 31-349c. In the instant case, the trial commissioner found that the claimant’s second injury occurred on September 5, 1989. The trial commissioner further found that the claim for transfer was pending and had not yet reached final judgment as of July 1, 1995. Furthermore, the trial commissioner found that a controverted issue existed regarding whether the claimant had a previous disability. The respondents do not contest the facts as found by the trial commissioner, and have not filed a Motion to Correct.
Accordingly, the trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed.
Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Stephen B. Delaney concur.
1 We note that in a prior decision, this Board affirmed the trial commissioner’s conclusion that this Commission had jurisdiction, even though the claimant’s injury occurred in New York, based upon the place of the employment relation. See Genden v. American Airlines, 3419 CRB-5-96-9 (February 9, 1998). BACK TO TEXT