State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, Stephen M. Morelli, Chairman
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CRB Case Annotations re: Section 31-280

Chairman’s powers and duties.

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Full texts of opinions, statutes and court decisions should be consulted and all citations and references fully researched by the reader.

The Annotations to Compensation Review Board Opinions are presented “as is” and the Commission makes no warranties as to the suitability of this information for any given purpose.
Please note also that Annotations change periodically due to several factors including, but not limited to, Appellate and Supreme Court decisions issued in workers’ compensation cases.

Ferree v. West Hartford, 5834 CRB-2-13-4 (February 20, 2014).

Respondent appealed from decision of commissioner to move proceedings from 6th District to 2nd District at claimant’s request. CRB decided appeal was unripe; but also noted authority for appeal was precedent applying law prior to 1991 statutory revision centralizing the Workers’ Compensation system under the Chairman’s authority. See also, Ferree, § 31-297; § 31-301 Appeal procedure.

Byrd v. Bechtel/Fusco, 4656 CRB-2-03-4 (July 14, 2004), aff’d, 90 Conn. App. 641 (2005), cert. denied, 276 Conn. 919 (2005).

See, Byrd, § 31-279(c), § 31-278. Subsequent decision at Byrd, 4765 CRB-2-03-12 (December 17, 2004), § 31-279(c), § 31-301. Appeal procedure, § 31-301. Factual findings.

Rogers v. C.N. Flagg Power, 3809 CRB-6-96-5 (June 23, 2000).

Claimant appealed to CRB from Chairman’s transfer of his case from the Third District to the Sixth District. Respondents had requested transfer on the basis that the two commissioners acting for the Third District had heard evidence in the case. The Chairman explained his reasons for the transfer, specifically that the two commissioners in question had already presided over informal hearings and/or pre-formal hearings in claimant’s case. CRB concluded that respondents’ request for transfer necessarily involved a possible claim of bias. Therefore, board explained that it was necessary that individual commissioners decide whether to recuse themselves. See also, Rogers, § 31-301. Appeal procedure.

Connair v. New Haven, 3450 CRB-3-96-10 (February 13, 1998), aff’d, 55 Conn. App. 129 (1999), cert. denied, 251 Conn. 922 (1999).

Medical practitioner sought hearing before commissioner on medical bill disputes for services provided between July 1, 1990 and April 1, 1994. Trier denied respondent’s Motion to Dismiss that action. Held: By Resolution and Order, and consistent with the powers granted to the Chairman in § 31-280(11), (23), and (26), as well as Admin. Regs. § 31-280-2 and -3, the Chairman implemented an alternate resolution procedure for such prior claims. The doctor was not entitled to disregard that procedure, as the intent behind the amendments to § 31-280 supports the passage of that Resolution, which was not complied with here. Denial of Motion to Dismiss reversed. Appellate Court affirmed, stating that chairman acted pursuant to lawful delegation of power, and change could be retroactively applied, as it was merely procedural.

Cummings v. Twin Tool Manufacturing, 3395 CRB-1-96-8 (July 15, 1997), aff’d, 48 Conn. App. 914 (1998)(per curiam).

The Chairman has the statutory authority to assign the claimant’s request for an emergency pre-formal hearing to another district based upon administrative considerations. Thus, CRB dismissed claimant’s appeal from Chairman’s letter regarding assignment of hearing. See subsequent decision at Cummings, 3641 CRB 1-97-6 (August 4, 1997), aff’d, 48 Conn. App. 915 (1998)(per curiam).

Baigert v. Fosdick Corporation, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 78, 1784 CRB-8-93-7 (January 20, 1995).

Chairman’s directive postponing medical provider’s request for an informal hearing indefinitely was proper where there was no evidence an underlying workers’ compensation claim existed. (Arcudi, C., DISSENTING) (Chairman does not have statutory power to deny medical provider due process. Chairman’s administrative powers may have been expanded by 1991 amendments to the workers’ compensation act, however, adjudicatory powers were left undisturbed). See also, Baigert, § 31-294d, and § 31-297.

Cookson v. G.R. Cummings Company, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 76, 1796 CRB-8-93-7 (January 20, 1995).

Chairman, acting for the Eighth District, erred in ordering an indefinite postponement of medical provider’s request of an informal hearing where it appears a workers’ compensation claim exists. See also, Cookson, § 31-294d, and § 31-297.

Dixon v. United Illuminating Co., 2026 CRB-3-94-4, 36 Conn. App. 150 (1994), order of transfer vacated and matter remanded, 232 Conn. 758 (1995).

Legislature in 1980 and 1991 increased administrative powers and duties of the chairman. Pursuant to § 31-280 the chairman directed the transfer of this claim from one district to another following a verbal request by a representative of respondent employer who claimed the employer was being treated unfairly in the district where proceedings were being held. Following the chairman’s directive the claimant filed a Motion for Hearing on Order of Transfer and Motion to Stay. The chairman denied said Motion. The CRB reserved questions of law to the Appellate Court; thereafter, the Appellate Court reserved the matter to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court acted on CRB’s reservation of questions and held: (1) The chairman has the power to transfer cases from one district to another without a hearing under his authority set out in § 31-280. However, that authority is not unlimited where that power was exercised on the basis of a claim of bias; the chairman’s transfer of the case was improper. The party claiming bias should have raised the issue of disqualification by moving that the trial commissioner disqualify himself and if that motion was denied, appeal to the CRB. (2) The CRB lacks appellate jurisdiction over appeals concerning the exercise of the chairman’s administrative powers under § 31-280. See also, Dixon, § 31-324, Reservation to Appellate Court.

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State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, Stephen M. Morelli, Chairman
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