State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, Stephen M. Morelli, Chairman
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CRB Case Annotations re: Section 31-301-3

[Administrative Regulation]

Commissioner’s Finding.

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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.

Gustafson v. SNET/Southern New England Telecommunications, 6191 CRB-2-17-4 (April 13, 2018).

Respondents appealed trial commissioner’s decision to award temporary total disability benefits to claimant who had previously reached maximum medical improvement and received permanent partial disability benefits. Respondents contended trier failed to properly apply standard set forth in Marandino v. Prometheus Pharmacy, 294 Conn. 564 (2010). CRB affirmed, noting that although trier did not specifically articulate that he had applied Marandino “test,” factual findings provided more than adequate basis for inferences that claimant was temporarily totally disabled and claimant’s ongoing difficulties since date of injury satisfied Marandino standard. CRB also held that evidentiary record provided basis for award of benefits pursuant to Osterlund v. State, 135 Conn. 498 (1949). CRB did not find meritorious respondents’ claims of error pertaining to trier’s alleged failure to address “material and relevant facts,” lack of specificity regarding payments due and owing to claimant, and denial of respondents’ motion to correct and motion to articulate. With regard to respondents’ contentions that findings pertaining to settlement discussion and medical treatment went beyond scope of issues noticed for formal hearing, CRB deemed such findings “harmless scrivener’s error.” See also, Gustafson, § 31-301. Factual Findings, § 31-307, § 31-308(a).

Garthwait v. AT&T, 6172 CRB-5-17-2 (February 2, 2018).

Claimant sustained compensable injury to low back in 2008, resulting in surgery at L4-5, and in 2014 sought authorization for additional surgery at L4-5 and L5-S1, which respondents denied. Claimant proceeded with surgery under his own insurance, and subsequently appealed trial commissioner’s decision denying compensability. CRB affirmed, rejecting claimant’s contentions that (1) commissioner had erroneously disregarded favorable medical opinion, and (2) respondents were obligated by prior Voluntary Agreement to accept compensability of claimant’s back problems at both disk levels absent an “override” of Voluntary Agreement pursuant to General Statutes § 31-315. CRB also determined that evidentiary record provided sufficient basis for commissioner’s conclusions that 2008 injury was not a substantial contributing factor to claimant’s need for second surgery, and second surgery did not constitute reasonable or necessary medical treatment pursuant to General Statutes § 31-294d. See also, Garthwait, § 31-275 (1), § 31-294d, § 31-301. Factual Findings, § 31-315.

Anderson v. Target Capital Partners, 5615 CRB-6-10-12 (January 3, 2012).

Claimant was totally disabled but respondents filed Form 36 based on medical opinion claimant had work capacity. Neighbor observed claimant engaged in active endeavors around home. Claimant relied on treating physician’s opinions, but trial commissioner found claimant not fully credible based on demeanor at hearing. Claimant appealed granting of Form 36 asserting commissioner needed to explain why he did not rely on opinions of treating physicians. CRB upheld trial commissioner. Commissioner sole judge of credibility and demeanor of witness. Leandres v. Mark IV Construction, Inc., 5159 CRB-4-06-11 (October 22, 2007). If claimant’s credibility in question, trial commissioner may find treating physician’s opinions unreliable. Abbotts v. Pace Motor Lines, Inc., 4974 CRB-4-05-7 (July 28, 2006), aff’d, 106 Conn. App. 436 (2008), cert. denied, 287 Conn. 910 (2008). Trial commissioner must only reference the facts he relied upon and his conclusions in his finding, and need not explain why he chose not to rely on other evidence. Cable v. Bic Corp., 270 Conn. 433, 440 (2004). Case indistinguishable from Smith v. Federal Express Corporation, 5405 CRB-7-08-12 (December 1, 2009). See also, Anderson, § 31-301; § 31-301-4; § 31-301-9; § 31-307.

Shepard v. UTC, 5556CRB-4-10-05 (July 27, 2011).

Claimant appealed from Finding and Dismissal and sought explanation as to why trial commissioner did not find evidence supportive of compensability probative and persuasive. CRB upheld decision. Commissioner need only support his finding with evidence found persuasive; as per Cable v. Bic Corp., 270 Conn. 433, 440 (2004), commissioner need not explain why he found other evidence unpersuasive. See also, Shepard, § 31-301 Factual findings; § 31-308(a); § 31-296.

Rizzo v. State/Judicial Department, 5522 CRB-6-10-1 (January 10, 2011).

Respondent appealed trier’s conclusions that claimant’s § 5-145a claim was timely filed and respondent failed to rebut presumption that claimant’s heart disease was causally connected to his employment as a Judicial Marshal. CRB affirmed, relying in part on Ciarlelli v. Hamden, 299 Conn. 265 (2010) in which Supreme Court held that one-year statute of limitations in hypertension cases commences when medical professional informs claimant of hypertension diagnosis. CRB determined that medical record did not support respondent’s contention that claimant’s heart disease pre-dated his employment as Judicial Marshal or that claimant received a definitive diagnosis of heart disease prior to his emergency medical procedures in December 2005. CRB determined trier’s findings relative to subject matter jurisdiction were legally sufficient and affirmed trier’s denial of Motion to Correct, concluding that although trier inaccurately used term “heart attack” and quoted an incorrect date of hire in his findings, both errors were harmless. See also, Rizzo, § 5-145a, § 7-433c, § 31-294c(a), § 31-301-4.

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