Howd & Ludorf, LLC’s Worker’s Compensation department has had a busy and productive summer. Partner Colette Griffin and Associates Harrold St. Juste, Kristin Bonneau, and Christopher Holland defended Worker’s Compensation claims to a favorable conclusion for their clients in the following actions:
Lester Zajkowski v. Clean Harbors
Howd & Ludorf, LLC obtained a finding and dismissal of a claim brought by the claimant, Lester Zajkowski, who maintains that he sustained an injury to his hand by way of significant fracture during the course and scope of his employment. The commissioner agreed that the claimant was not credible and that based on the many inconsistencies which we were able to highlight for the commissioner during the course of the formal hearing, the claimant could not be found credible and therefore could not sustain his burden as it concerned the circumstances of his broken hand. The claim was dismissed with prejudice to the claimant.
Lori Hickey v. Wilton Board of Education
Howd & Ludorf, LLC successfully obtained a finding and dismissal of a claim by a paraprofessional working for the Wilton Board of Education, finding that the claimant’s stories were so inconsistent that she could not be found credible. Additionally, the commissioner agreed that the medical records failed to sustain the claimant’s burden of proof and that despite the claimant’s lack of credibility, the medical records would not be sufficient to sustain the claimant’s burden of proof regarding low back injury and the need for surgical intervention as being causally related to the alleged work injury. The claim was dismissed with prejudice to the claimant.
Thomas Dubrosky v. Boehringer Ingelheim
The Workers’ Compensation Department successfully argued before for the Appellate Court that both the Workers’ Compensation trial commissioner and the Compensation Review Board were incorrect in granting a Motion to Preclude that was brought by the claimants in the matter Dubrosky v. Boehringer. The Appellate Court agreed that given the particular facts of the claim, strict compliance with Connecticut General Statutes 31-294c(b) would not have been possible, and that where the claimant was certainly not prejudiced, the failure to deny the claim or pay the claim within 28 days would not result in preclusion. The Appellate Court acknowledged that the issuance of a Form 43 would have been inappropriate, as the respondent did not deny the initial work-related event, but only sought to deny the extent of the claimant’s injury and disability. While this case is particular as to the facts, it has certainly opened the door for respondents as it concerns the recent trend in preclusion.
The claimant/appellant has sought certification to the Supreme Court.
Jerome Kinsey v. World Pac
Howd & Ludorf, LLC successfully argued that a claimant who failed to identify a claim for a penalty in accordance with Connecticut General Statute 31-288 did not have an automatic right to request those penalties at a formal proceeding while the Compensation Review Board did not agree that in order for benefits to be found unduly delayed they would have to be delayed greater than 35 days the CRB upheld the nominal award of interest on benefits that were delayed. The CRB also agreed that attorney’s fees do not include paralegal time.
Suzanne Chowaniec v. Town of Middlefield
Howd & Ludorf, LLC appealed a decision awarding Workers’ Compensation benefits to a volunteer firefighter/ambulance worker who was performing functions at a fair. The claimant maintained that the injury to her knee should be found compensable in accordance with Connecticut General Statute 7-314, as she was “ordered” to be at the fair at the time and place she sustained the injury to her knee. The trial commissioner found the claim compensable in accordance with Connecticut General Statute 7-314.
The Compensation Review Board overturned the trial commissioner’s decision, finding that in fact there is no evidence to support the claimant’s injury arose out of the list of fire duties as defined by Connecticut General Statute 7-314. More particularly, the claimant maintains that her claim should be found compensable as the statute indicates that fire duties include “any duty ordered by a superior or commanding officer.” The CRB agreed with the respondent that the claimant failed to present any credible evidence or testimony that this was the case. The appellant has taken an appeal to the Connecticut Appellate Court.
Robert Perun v. City of Danbury
Howd & Ludorf, LLC successfully argued before the Connecticut Appellate Court that the Compensation Review Board was correct in overturning the trial commissioner, who found that an injury sustained by a police officer in his driveway was not compensable in accordance with Connecticut General Statute 31-275 (1)(A)(i) inasmuch as the police officer had not yet “departed from his place of abode” and therefore he was not yet subject to coverage as outlined in the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act.