State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
Home News RSS News QUICK Find Index Search E-Mail
General Information Glossary Law CRB Opinions Workers' Compensation Commission Downloadable Forms and Publications Links

Bernard v. Shop Rite Supermarket

CASE NO. 6328 CRB-4-19-5

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

NOVEMBER 5, 2019

JONAS BERNARD

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

SHOP RITE SUPERMARKET

EMPLOYER

and

AMGUARD INSURANCE COMPANY

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant appeared at oral argument. Counsel of record, Maria R. Altieri, Attorney at Law, 1836 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06110 appeared in support of her Motion to Withdraw as Counsel.

The respondents were represented by Jason T. LaMark, Esq., Mullen & McGourty, P.C., 2 Waterside Crossing, Suite 102A, Windsor, CT 06095 but did not attend oral argument.

This Motion to Withdraw as Counsel, regarding the Petition for Review from the April 9, 2019 Finding and Dismissal of Jodi Murray Gregg, the Commissioner acting for the Fourth District, was heard October 25, 2019 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Stephen M. Morelli and Commissioners Peter C. Mlynarczyk and David W. Schoolcraft.

RULING RE: MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL

STEPHEN M. MORELLI, CHAIRMAN. This matter arises from the claimant’s appeal from Commissioner Jodi Murray Gregg’s (commissioner) April 9, 2019 Finding and Dismissal (finding) of a claim for chapter 568 benefits. The claimant alleged that he sustained injuries to his head and neck as a result of an assault at work. The commissioner concluded that an incident did occur on July 29, 2017, but dismissed the claim as to the head and neck injuries.

The claimant appealed from the finding and all issues on appeal were scheduled to be heard by the board at its October 25, 2019 session for oral argument. On October 2, 2019, claimant’s counsel, Attorney Maria Altieri filed a Motion to Withdraw Appearance (motion) as the attorney for the claimant. Attorney Altieri’s motion provided notice to the claimant advising that she was seeking to withdraw her representation. However, the motion essentially was merely an expression of counsel’s desire to end her representation and provided no grounds supporting her request.

Following receipt of the motion, the board advised the parties and the claimant that oral argument scheduled for October 25, 2019, would be limited to consideration of counsel’s motion. At oral argument, the board asked Attorney Altieri as to her grounds for seeking to withdraw from representing the claimant. Attorney Altieri’s responses to the board’s questions were rather equivocal. Upon further questioning, Attorney Altieri admitted that she was attempting to be circumspect in her responses so that she would not negatively impact her client. Ultimately, the board asked if her continued representation of the claimant would present any ethical issues. She stated it would not.

Thereafter, the board asked the claimant if he had an objection to permitting Attorney Altieri to withdraw from representing him. The claimant stated he did not want Attorney Altieri to withdraw from representing him.

In prior cases where we have ruled on motions to withdraw as counsel, we have referenced the Rules of Professional Conduct. We referenced § 1.161 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which details under what circumstances an attorney must terminate representation and circumstances where the attorney may withdraw from representing a client. See Blades v. Redman & Turnquist, 5163 CRB-2-06-11 (February 26, 2008); Angol v. In Your Neighborhood Construction, 5125 CRB-1-06-8 (July 17, 2007); see later CRB Opinion issued (March 16, 2010); Cordi-Allen v. Hartford, 4422 CRB-1-01-7 (January 30, 2002). We have also cited Practice Book § 3-10 governing attorneys’ motions to withdraw appearance. See e.g., Blades, supra, Angol, supra. The essence of Practice Book § 3-102 is that an attorney may withdraw his/her appearance for good cause. See also, Rules of Appellate Procedure § 62-9. Given the claimant’s stated objection to counsel’s motion to withdraw, counsel’s own statement that continued representation does not present an ethical issue, and counsel’s failure to identify a specific ground which negatively impacts her ability to represent the claimant, we deny the motion.

Therefore, the Motion to Withdraw Appearance filed October 2, 2019, is denied. Commissioners Peter C. Mlynarczyk and David W. Schoolcraft concur.

1 Rule 1.16 states:

“(a) Except as stated in subsection (c), a lawyer shall not represent a client or, where representation has commenced, shall withdraw from the representation of a client if: (1) The representation will result in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; (2) The lawyer’s physical or mental condition materially impairs the lawyer’s ability to represent the client; or (3) The lawyer is discharged.

(b) Except as stated in subsection (c), a lawyer may withdraw from representing a client if: (1) withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client; (2) the client persists in a course of action involving the lawyer’s services that the lawyer reasonably believes is criminal or fraudulent; (3) the client has used the lawyer’s services to perpetrate a crime or fraud;(4) the client insists upon taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant or with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement; (5) the client fails substantially to fulfill an obligation to the lawyer regarding the lawyer’s services and has been given reasonable warning that the lawyer will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled; (6) the representation will result in an unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer or has been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client; or (7) other good cause for withdrawal exists.

(c) A lawyer must comply with applicable law requiring notice to or permission of a tribunal when terminating a representation. When ordered to do so by a tribunal, a lawyer shall continue representation notwithstanding good cause for terminating the representation.” BACK TO TEXT

2 Sec. 3-10 states:

“(a) No motion for withdrawal of appearance shall be granted unless good cause is shown and until the judicial authority is satisfied that reasonable notice has been given to other attorneys of record and that the party represented by the attorney was served with the motion and the notice required by this section or that the attorney has made reasonable efforts to serve such party. All motions to withdraw appearance shall be set down for argument and when the attorney files such motion, he or she shall obtain such argument date from the clerk.

(b) In civil and family cases, a motion to withdraw shall include the last known address of any party as to whom the attorney seeks to withdraw his or her appearance and shall have attached toot a notice to such party advising of the following: (1) the attorney is filing a motion which seeks the court’s permission to no longer represent the party in the case; (2) the date and time the motion will be heard; (3) the party may appear in court on that date and address the court concerning the motion; (4) if the motion to withdraw is granted, the party should either obtain another attorney or file an appearance on his or her own behalf with the court; and (5) if the party does neither, the party will not receive notice of court proceedings in the case and a nonsuit or default judgment maybe rendered against such party.

(c) In criminal and juvenile matters, the motion to withdraw shall comply with subsections (b) (1),(2) and (3) of this section and the client shall also be advised by the attorney that if the motion to withdraw is granted the client should request court appointed counsel, obtain another attorney or file an appearance on his or her own behalf with the court and be further advised that if none is done, there may be no further notice of proceeding and the court may act.

(d) In addition to the above, each motion to withdraw appearance and each notice to the party or parties who are the subject of the motion shall state whether the case has been assigned for pretrial or trial and, if so, the date so assigned. (e) The attorney’s appearance for the party shall be deemed to have been withdrawn upon the granting of the motion without the necessity of filing a withdrawal of appearance.” BACK TO TEXT

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: February 6, 2020

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/2019/6328rul.htm

Workers’ Compensation Commission Disclaimer, Privacy Policy and Website Accessibility

State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
Home News RSS News QUICK Find Index Search E-Mail
General Information Glossary Law CRB Opinions Workers' Compensation Commission Downloadable Forms and Publications Links