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CASE NO. 4801 CRB-7-04-4
COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION
SEPTEMBER 15, 2005
The claimant appeared on his own behalf.
The respondents were represented by Erik S. Bartlett, Esq., McGann, Bartlett & Brown, LLC, 111 Founders Plaza, Suite 1201, East Hartford, CT 06108.
This Petition for Review from the March 26, 2004 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Seventh District was heard June 17, 2005 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman John A. Mastropietro and Commissioners Stephen B. Delaney and Michelle D. Truglia.
JOHN A. MASTROPIETRO, CHAIRMAN. The claimant appeals from the March 26, 2004 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Seventh District. In that Finding and Dismissal the commissioner concluded that an injury sustained by the claimant on July 15, 2001 while in the employ of the respondent-employer, did not arise out of and in the course of employment. The claimant filed this appeal.1
The following facts are pertinent to the consideration of this appeal. The claimant was employed by the respondent as a cook and dishwasher. Claimant alleged that he sustained injuries to his neck and shoulder when he tripped over a scooter. At the time of the fall the claimant contends he was hauling kitchen trash to the outside dumpster when he fell over a scooter located in the parking lot along his path to the dumpster.
The trial commissioner did not find the claimant’s testimony credible as to the factual circumstances giving rise to his injuries. As we have often noted, determinations as to the credibility of a witness are matters within the discretion of a trial commissioner. Vonella v. Rainforest Cafe, 4788 CRB-6-04-2 (March 16, 2005). Facts found and the conclusions drawn by the commissioner will not be disturbed unless found without evidence, contrary to law or the result of unreasonable inferences. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535 (1988).
In the proceedings before this trier, conflicting evidence was presented. The claimant alleged he fell over a scooter while discarding trash. However, other evidence presented suggested that the injury occurred when the claimant was riding the non-motorized scooter. Records from the Norwalk Hospital, where the claimant was taken by ambulance following the incident, indicated the claimant was hurt in a scooter crash. See Claimant’s Exhibit E. Additionally, claimant stated to a representative of Kemper Insurance, “I got on the thing they were playing with and not even five minutes went by when ‘boom’ I fell.” See Finding ¶7, Respondents’ Exhibit 2.
A claimant “must prove the accident giving rise to the injury took place (a) within the period of the employment; (b) at a place [the employee] may reasonably [have been]; and (c) while [the employee was] reasonably fulfilling the duties of the employment or doing something incidental to it. . . . Mazzone v. Connecticut Transit Co., 240 Conn. 788, 793 (1997).” (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Kish v. Nursing and Home Care, Inc., 248 Conn. 379, 383 (1999). Kolomiets v. Syncor International Corp., 252 Conn. 261, 266 (2000)
The conclusion of the trial commissioner will not be disturbed as it is not contrary to law or without evidentiary support. Fair, supra. The inferences drawn by the trier were not an abuse of his discretion.
We therefore affirm the March 26, 2004 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Seventh District.
Commissioners Stephen B. Delaney and Michelle D. Truglia concur.
1 The claimant was represented at the trial level by Alex J. Martinez, Esq. Attorney Martinez filed the initial documents in this appeal. On October 25, 2004, Attorney Martinez filed a motion to withdraw appearance as claimant’s counsel. That motion was considered by the Compensation Review Board on November 19, 2004. On November 29, 2004 the motion was granted and the claimant was informed he could either secure new counsel or proceed pro se. The matter was scheduled to be heard for oral argument before the Compensation Review Board on June 17, 2005. The claimant who is primarily Spanish speaking was assisted in his communications at oral argument by an acquaintance, Janet Rojas. Ms. Rojas functioned as a translator. BACK TO TEXT