State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, Stephen M. Morelli, Chairman
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CRB Case Annotations re: Section 31-321

Manner of serving notices.

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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.

Bellerive v. The Grotto, Inc., 6335 CRB-5-19-6 (June 10, 2020), appeal pending, A.C. 44138 (June 16, 2020).

Respondent-Employer argued that insurance carrier’s cancellation of it policy via electronic notice to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) was ineffective as it did not comply with the notice statute. While trial commissioner accepted this argument, CRB reversed, finding the rules of the Commission directed carriers to notice NCCI in this manner. See also, Bellerive, § 31-348.

Tiffany v. Cheer Virtue Evolution & Athletic Training Center, LLC, 6046 CRB-7-15-11 (August 23, 2016).

Claimant filed claim asserting compensable injury and respondent-employer never filed disclaimer to claim and did not attend formal hearing. Trial Commissioner found respondent had notice of claim and found claimant credible, and awarded benefits. Respondent, through its principal, appealed asserting a jurisdictional defense that no employer-employee relationship existed and she would have presented this defense but was not aware of the hearing. CRB affirmed decision. While notice of hearing is essential to due process review of record indicated respondent should have received notice of claim and numerous subsequent notices. Respondent’s argument that her town had serious problems with postal delivery uncorroborated by any supportive evidence. CRB found no basis to set award aside. See also, Tiffany, § 31-298; § 31-301 Factual findings.

Bedard v. Southbury, 5923 CRB-5-14-3 (April 24, 2015).

Trial commissioner granted Motion to Preclude after concluding claimant’s delivery of Form 30C to executive assistant to chief of fire fighters’ association constituted adequate notice to municipality that claimant, a fire fighter and former fire chief, was claiming § 7-433c C.G.S. benefits. Respondent appealed on basis that executive assistant was employed by fire fighters’ association and record was devoid of evidence that she was agent of municipality and/or authorized to accept service of notices of claim. CRB affirmed, noting record contained testimony from claimant that when he was fire chief, he would give notices of claim to his executive assistant for presentation to town. Assistant treasurer for municipality also testified that fire chief’s executive assistant’s duties included delivery of fire fighters’ notices of claim to assistant treasurer for filing with workers’ compensation insurer. See also, Bedard, § 7-314a, § 31-294c, § 31-301 Factual Findings.

Wiblyi v. McDonald’s Corporation, 5883 CRB-1-13-10 (October 3, 2014), rev’d and remanded, 168 Conn. App. 77 (2016) and aff’d, 168 Conn. App. 92 (2016).

Claimant appealed trial commissioner’s denial of Motion to Preclude brought eleven years after original notice of injury, arguing that trier’s decision to deny preclusion due to laches and prejudice constituted an abuse of discretion. Respondents cross-appealed on basis that claimant failed to sustain his burden of proof that notice of claim was properly served on employer pursuant to §§ 31-294c(b) and 31-321 C.G.S. CRB held that trier was prohibited as matter of law from denying statutory remedy of preclusion on basis of equitable doctrine such as laches and remanded claimant’s appeal for additional findings relative to whether statutory requirements for preclusion had been satisfied. CRB also remanded cross-appeal for additional findings after concluding that record contained ambiguities regarding circumstances of service of notice of claim which did not fully support conclusions drawn by trier. On appeal, Appellate Court affirmed that equitable doctrine of laches could not be applied to Motion to Preclude in light of legislative omission in establishing a time limit for such motions. However, Appellate Court reversed and remanded board’s remand of cross-appeal, holding that because trier’s findings were supported by evidence and were neither inconsistent nor contradictory, board had abused its discretion by reassessing evidentiary record. See also, Wiblyi, § 31-294c; § 31-301 Factual findings.

Lopez v. EC Tree, LLC, 5698 CRB-8-11-11 (October 11, 2012).

Claimant injured on job. Employer argued claimant an independent contractor and argued therefore lack of workers’ comp insurance not material. Trial commissioner found employer/employee relationship and found employer lacked workers’ compensation insurance. Respondent challenged this finding on appeal; arguing policy not properly cancelled. CRB dismissed appeal for failure to prosecute, but added finding was consistent with precedent in Yelunin v. Royal Ride Transportation, 121 Conn. App. 144 (2010) and Velez v. LSP Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Domino’s Pizza, 5105 CRB-1-06-6 (September 26, 2007). See also, Lopez, § 31-284; § 31-301 Appeal procedure; § 31-348.

Lamar v. Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., 5588 CRB 7-10-9 (August 25, 2011), aff’d, 138 Conn. App. 826 (2012), cert denied, 307 Conn. 943 (2012).

See also, Lamar, § 31-294c; § 31-301 Appeal procedure.

Mehan v. Stamford, 5389 CRB-7-08-10 (October 14, 2009).

Claimant submitted Form 30C to assistant fire chief, who completed form. Respondents argued form not filed in proper fashion and preclusion should not have been granted. CRB upheld trial commissioner. Statute permits personal service on employer at place of business. Statute does not mandate service on whoever municipality uses to handle insurance claims. Since assistant chief completed form, respondents could not argue prejudice due the omissions in the filing. Statute does not prevent individual from acting both for claimant and respondent, see Verrinder v. Matthew’s Tru Colors Painting & Restoration 4936 CRB-4-05-4 (December 6, 2006). See also, Mehan, § 31-301. Appeal procedure, § 31-308(b), § 31-294c.

Morgan v. Hot Tomato’s, Inc. DIP, 4377 CRB-3-01-3 (January 30, 2002).

CRB affirmed trier’s granting of Motion to Preclude where employer did not receive certified letter containing Form 30C despite five delivery attempts by post office. Claimant need only demonstrate that adequate Form 30C had been sent by certified mail to employer’s place of business in order to satisfy general notice requirements of § 31-321. See also, Morgan, § 31-294c.

McKenna v. Thorne & Cleaves, Inc., 3365 CRB-7-96-6 (July 29, 1997).

This section clearly requires notice to be sent to an employer’s place of business rather than to the address of the statutory agent for service of process. See also, McKenna, § 31-294c.

Bonin v. Thames Valley Steel, 1492 CRB-2-92-8 (February 14, 1997), appeal dismissed for lack of final judgment, A.C. 16963 (May 28, 1997).

Claimant’s inability to identify the person who signed for the certified letter containing his Form 30C did not make notice insufficient, as claimant sent notice by certified mail to employer’s place of business. Claimant is not responsible for employer having responsible agent or employee in office at time of delivery. See also, Bonin, § 31-294c.

Allingham v. Burns International Security, 14 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 333, 1977 CRB-1-94-2 (September 20, 1995).

See, Allingham, § 31-298 (requirements of § 31-321 apply when notifying parties of decision).

Jimenez v. Montero, 14 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 40, 1826 CRB-4-93-8 (May 4, 1995).

Commissioner found that respondent had attempted to avoid service of process by refusing to accept service or sign for certified or registered mail, and had forced his wife to return a notice that she had signed for regarding 7/14/87 hearing. Commissioner also found that § 31-321 had been satisfied by sending of notice for 7/21/87 formal hearing. Held, findings supported by evidence. CRB recognized due process right of a party to be notified of workers’ compensation proceedings. However, the respondent’s attempts to avoid service of notice of formal hearing, as well as other conduct designed to circumvent workers’ compensation laws, estopped him from claiming due process violation in this case.

In re: Employee Staffing of America, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 278, 1395 CRB-3-92-3 (April 21, 1995).

Employer failed to appear at noncompliance hearing regarding violation of § 31-284(b); $1,000 fine entered against employer. Record did not specify whether personal service or service by registered mail was attempted on respondent pursuant to § 31-321. Held, where a fine was imposed against respondent in its absence, CRB must ensure that procedural due process requirements were satisfied in notifying respondent of proceedings. Lack of evidence regarding notice requires remand in this case.

Hveem v. State, 9 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 5, 897 CRD-5-89-7 (January 4, 1991).

Remanded to address issue as to whether disclaimer mailed to claimant’s counsel and not to claimant sufficiently complied with statute so as to permit preclusion. Decided on other issues. See also, Hveem, § 31-294c.

O’Neill v. New King, Inc., 3 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 86, 190 CRD-6-82 (November 13, 1986).

See, Timothy, infra.

Timothy v. Upjohn, 2 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 1, 150 CRD-3-82 (February 25, 1983), dismissed for lack of final judgment, 3 Conn. App. 162 (1985).

Notice of claim for Chapter 568 benefits must be made in accord with § 31-321 if claimant seeks to preclude respondent from contesting liability.

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