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Lazzari v. Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., LLC

Appellate Court of Connecticut

February 2, 2016

ANTHONY LAZZARI
v.
THE STOP AND SHOP SUPERMARKET COMPANY, LLC, ET AL

         Argued December 2, 2015

          Appeal from a certain communication of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Eighth District related to the plaintiff's claim for disability benefits, brought to the Workers' Compensation Review Board, which issued an order remanding the matter to the commissioner for an evidentiary hearing; thereafter, the board denied the plaintiff's motion for review and reconsideration, and the plaintiff appealed to this court; subsequently, the board issued a clarification of its remand order.

          Affirmed.

          SYLLABUS

         The plaintiff, who had sustained a work related injury for which he sought workers' compensation benefits, appealed to the Workers' Compensation Review Board from a certain letter written by the Workers' Compensation Commissioner, which outlined the law regarding the right of the defendants, his employer and its insurer, to depose the plaintiff, and the permissible scope and mechanics of such a deposition. The letter was written in reply to a memorandum filed by the plaintiff requesting that the commissioner to set forth the legal authority for compelling him to submit to a deposition. The board determined that without a formal hearing at which a record could be created, the plaintiff's appeal was not ripe, and it, therefore, remanded the matter to the commissioner to hold a formal hearing. The plaintiff appealed to this court from that decision of the board. Held that the board properly remanded the matter to the commissioner for a formal hearing: the relevant statutes (§ § 31-298 and 31-301 [b]), which concern formal hearings in workers' compensation cases and require the board to hear the appeal on the record of the hearing before the commissioner, contemplate that both parties will have the opportunity to make their arguments to the commissioner, who, in turn, will have the opportunity to fully develop the record by questioning the parties and providing them with an opportunity to submit evidence, which ensures that the record before the board will be sufficient for it to make a proper determination of the rights of the parties; accordingly, the board properly determined that it could not decide the issues presented without a formal hearing at which all parties would have an opportunity to make their arguments and the commissioner would be able to render a decision, which could then be reviewed by the board if an appeal was taken.

         Anthony Lazzari, self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).

         Matthew Necci, with whom, on the brief, was Alyssa Swaniger, for the appellee (named defendant).

         Gruendel, Mullins and Mihalakos, Js.

          OPINION

          [162 Conn.App. 770] PER CURIAM.

          The plaintiff, Anthony Lazzari, appeals from the decision of the Workers' Compensation Review Board (board) remanding his appeal in order for the Workers' Compensation Commissioner (commissioner) to hold a formal hearing. The

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board determined that without a formal hearing at which a record could be created, the plaintiff's appeal was not ripe. On appeal, the plaintiff raises various claims, principally arguing that the board inadequately considered the issues he raised before it. We affirm the board's decision.

         The plaintiff's underlying claim is that he was injured while an employee of the defendant, The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, LLC, and that he, therefore, is owed workers' compensation benefits by that company and its defendant insurer, Mac Risk Management, Inc. When the defendants sought to depose the plaintiff, he filed a " memoranda re: legal authority for deposition" with the commissioner, requesting, inter alia, the legal authority pursuant to which the commissioner could compel his deposition. The commissioner replied with a letter outlining the law regarding the defendants' entitlement to depose the plaintiff, the permissible scope of such a deposition, and the mechanics of the deposition, along with suggestions for conducting a deposition in a way that would address the plaintiff's concerns. The [162 Conn.App. 771] plaintiff then appealed from the commissioner's reply to the board. The board issued a remand order on September 24, 2014, stating that no transcript or exhibits existed[1] and that due process required an evidentiary hearing where a record could be created. It then remanded the matter to the commissioner for a formal hearing or other appropriate action.[2] Thereafter, the plaintiff appealed to this court.

         The issue presented on appeal is whether the board properly remanded the matter to the commissioner for a ...


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