October 21, 2016
J. Morrissey, with whom was David J. Mor-rissey, for the
M. Dodge, with whom, on the brief, was Kath- erine E. Abel,
for the appellees (defendants).
Rogers, C. J., and Palmer, Zarella, Eveleigh, McDonald,
Robinson and Vertefeuille, Js. [*]
sole issue in this appeal is whether the plaintiff, Peter
Balloli, who was employed by the named defendant, the New
Haven Police Department, had departed his ‘‘place of
abode'' when he was injured, thus entitling him to
workers' compensation benefits pursuant to General
Statutes § 31-275 (1) (A) (i) of the Workers'
Compensation Act (act). The plaintiff appeals from a decision
of the Workers' Compensation Review Board (board), which
affirmed the decision of the Workers' Compensation
Commissioner for the Third District (commissioner) dismissing
the plaintiff's claim. On appeal, the plaintiff claims
that he is entitled to workers' compensation benefits
because he had departed his ‘‘place of
abode'' for duty as a police officer. We agree with
following facts, as found by the commissioner, and procedural
history are relevant to the disposition of this appeal. The
plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a police officer
on October 25, 2012. The plaintiff was scheduled to perform
an extra duty job as a police officer for the defendant
beginning at 7 a.m. on that date.
plaintiff moved his vehicle out of his driveway at
approximately 5:30 a.m. on that morning so that his son could
move another vehicle out of the driveway. After moving his
vehicle, the plaintiff parked it in the street directly in
front of his house. The vehicle was parked so that the
passenger side of the vehicle was facing the house and the
driver's side of the vehicle was facing the street. After
parking his vehicle on the street, the plaintiff went back
into his home and finished getting ready for work.
approximately 6 a.m., the plaintiff walked through his
breezeway, down the driveway and to the driver's side
door of his vehicle, which was still parked on the street.
While standing on the street at the driver's side door,
the plaintiff dropped his keys. The keys ricocheted off his
foot and landed underneath his vehicle. The plaintiff
squatted down and twisted to pick up his keys, injuring his
commissioner dismissed the plaintiff's claim, concluding
that ‘‘[b]ased on the totality of the evidence
submitted . . . the [plaintiff had] not met his burden [of
demonstrating] that the . . . injury arose out of and in the
course of his employment as he was injured at home prior to
commencing his normal commute to work. He had not departed
from his ‘place of abode' pursuant to . . . §
31-275 (1) (A) (i) at the time he sustained his back injury
and therefore this incident is not compensable.'' The
plaintiff appealed to the board, which affirmed the decision
of the commissioner. This appeal followed.
a threshold matter, we set forth the standard of review
applicable to workers' compensation appeals. The
principles that govern our standard of review in workers'
compensation appeals are well established. The conclusions
drawn by [the commissioner] from the facts found must stand
unless they result from an incorrect application of the law
to the subordinate facts or from an inference illegally or
unreasonably drawn from them. . . . [Moreover, it] is well
established that [a]lthough not dispositive, we accord great
weight to the construction given to the workers'
compensation statutes by the commissioner and [the] board. .
. . Cases that present pure questions of law, however, invoke
a broader standard of review than is ordinarily involved in
deciding whether, in light of the evidence, the agency has
acted unreasonably, arbitrarily, illegally or in abuse of its
discretion. . . . We have determined, therefore, that the
traditional deference accorded to an agency's
interpretation of a statutory term is unwarranted when the
construction of a statute . . . has not previously been
subjected to judicial scrutiny [or to] . . . a governmental
agency's time-tested interpretation . . . .''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) Estate of Rock v.
University of Connecticut, 323 Conn. 26, 30, 144 A.3d
present case, the plaintiff does not challenge the factual
findings of the commissioner, but instead asserts that the
board improperly affirmed the commissioner's incorrect
interpretation of the term ‘‘place of
abode'' in § 31-275 (1) (A) (i). Accordingly,
the plaintiff's claim raises an issue of statutory
construction. ‘‘When interpreting the statutory
provisions at issue in the present case, we are mindful of
the proposition that all workers' compensation
legislation, because of its remedial nature, should be
broadly construed in favor of disabled employees.''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) Ciarlelli v.
Hamden, 299 Conn. 265, 277, 8 A.3d 1093 (2010).
‘‘When construing a statute, [o]ur fundamental
objective is to ascertain and give effect to the apparent
intent of the legislature. . . . In other words, we seek to
determine, in a reasoned manner, the meaning of the statutory
language as applied to the facts of [the] case, including the
question of whether the language actually does apply. . . .
In seeking to determine that meaning, General Statutes §
1-2z directs us first to consider the text of the statute
itself and its relationship to other statutes. If, after
examining such text and considering such relationship, the
meaning of such text is plain and unambiguous and does not
yield absurd or unworkable results, extratextual evidence of
the meaning of the statute shall not be considered. . . .
When a statute is not plain and unambiguous, we also look for
interpretive guidance to the legislative history and
circumstances surrounding its enactment, to the legislative
policy it was designed to implement, and to its relationship
to existing legislation and common law principles governing
the same general subject matter . . . .'' (Footnote
omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Vincent v.
New Haven, 285 Conn. 778, 784-85, 941 A.2d 932 (2008).
‘‘[i]t is well established that, in resolving
issues of statutory construction under the act, we are
mindful that the act indisputably is a remedial statute that
should be construed generously to accomplish its purpose. . .
. The humanitarian and remedial purposes of the act counsel
against an overly narrow construction that unduly limits
eligibility for workers' compensation. . . . Accordingly,
[i]n construing workers' compensation law, we must
resolve statutory ambiguities or lacunae in a manner that
will further the remedial purpose of the act. . . . [T]he
purposes of the act itself are best served by allowing the
remedial legislation a reasonable sphere of operation
considering those purposes.'' (Internal quotation
marks omitted.) Sullins v. United Parcel Service,
Inc., 315 Conn. 543, 550-51, 108 A.3d 1110 (2015).
is an axiom of [workers'] compensation law that awards
are determined by a two-part test. The [claimant] has the
burden of proving that the injury claimed  arose out of
the employment and  occurred in the course of the
employment. . . . [E]mployment ordinarily does not commence
until the claimant has reached the employer's premises,
and consequently an injury sustained prior to that time would
ordinarily not occur in the course of the employment so as to
be compensable. . . . For a police officer or firefighter,
[however] in the course of his employment encompasses such
individual's departure from such individual's place
of abode to duty . . . .'' (Citation omitted;
internal quotation marks omitted.) McMorris v. New Haven
Police Dept., 156 Conn.App. 822, 830, 115 A.3d 491,
cert. denied, 317 Conn. 911, 115 A.3d 1106 (2015).
plaintiff's claim, therefore, requires us to determine
the meaning of ‘‘place of abode'' as used
in § 31-275 (1) (A) (i). Section 31-275 (1) (A) (i)
provides as follows: ‘‘For a police officer or
firefighter, ‘in the course of his employment'
encompasses such individual's departure from such
individual's place of abode to duty, such
individual's duty, and the return to such
individual's place of abode after duty . . . .''
Section 31-275 (1) (A) (i) does not define the term
‘‘place of abode'' and this court has
never had an opportunity to address the meaning of that term.
the plaintiff and the defendant rely on the Appellate
Court's interpretation of § 31-275 (1) (A) (i) in
Perun v. Danbury, 143 Conn.App. 313, 67 A.3d 1018
(2013), to support their positions in the present case.
Specifically, the defendant asserts that the Appellate Court
adopted a broad definition of the term ‘‘
‘place of abode' ''in Perun, and
that the broad definition would include the area on the
public street in front of the plaintiff's house in the
present case. On the other hand, the plaintiff asserts that,
unlike the plaintiff in Perun, he had crossed the
demarcation line of his abode when he entered the public
street in front of his house.
Perun, the plaintiff, a police officer, slipped and
fell on a patch of ice in his driveway as he approached his
vehicle to depart for work. Perun v. Danbury, supra,
143 Conn.App. 314. The commissioner granted the
plaintiff's claim, finding that the injury occurred
during his departure to work. The board reversed the
commissioner's decision, relying on § 31-275 (1) (E)
and (F). Id., 315. The board concluded that the
plaintiff's injury did not arise out of and in the scope
of his employment, and was not compensable under §
31-275 (1) (E) (i) because the injury occurred at the
plaintiff's place of abode. Id. The Appellate
Court affirmed the board's dismissal, reasoning that
‘‘[§] 31-275 (1) (E) and (F) articulate at
what point a police officer's or firefighter's course
of employment commences and terminates. Section 31-275 (1)
(E) provides in relevant part that ‘[a] personal injury
shall not be deemed to arise out of the employment if the
injury is sustained . . . [a]t the employee's place of
abode, and . . . while the employee is engaged in a
preliminary act or acts in preparation for work unless such
act or acts are undertaken at the express direction or
request of the employer.' What constitutes one's
‘place of abode' is defined in § 31-275 (1)
(F), and it ‘includes the inside of the residential
structure, the garage, the common hallways, stairways,
driveways, walkways and the yard . . . .' ''
(Emphasis omitted; footnote omitted.) Perun v.
Danbury, supra, 317. The Appellate Court further
reasoned that ‘‘[r]eading § 31-275 (1) as a
whole, we hold that a police officer's or
firefighter's commute to and from work is part of his or
her ‘course of employment.' The commute, however,
according to the legislature, does not begin when the police
officer or firefighter breaks the plane of his front door: an
injury occurring in a driveway does not occur in the course
of employment. In other words, police officers do enjoy
so-called ‘portal-to-portal coverage' under the
workers' compensation statutes . . . but, [the plaintiff]
had not crossed the demarcation line as defined by the
legislature when he sustained his injury.'' (Citation
we are not bound by the Appellate Court's interpretation
of § 31-275 (1) (A) (i), we find that it is instructive.
In interpreting § 31-275 (1) (A) (i), consistent with
§ 1-2z, the Appellate Court looked to other relevant
statutory provisions-namely § 31-275 (1) (E) and (F). We
agree with this approach. As the Appellate Court has
explained, ‘‘[§] 31-275 (1) (E) and (F)
articulate at what point a police officer's or
firefighter's course of employment commences and
terminates.'' Perun v. Danbury, supra, 143
§ 31-275 (1) (E) delineates at what point a police
officer's departure from his place of abode begins.
Section 31-275 (1) (E) provides that ‘‘A personal
injury shall not be deemed to arise out of the employment if
the injury is sustained: (i) At the employee's place of
abode, and (ii) while the employee is engaged in a
preliminary act or acts in preparation for work unless such
act or acts are undertaken at the express direction or
request of the employer . . . .'' Section 31-275 (1)
(E) is ‘‘two-pronged and injuries are not
compensable only if both prongs of the statute are
met.'' McMorris v. New Haven Police Dept.,
supra, 156 Conn.App. 831. In other words, a police officer or
firefighter must be both engaged in a preliminary act or acts
in preparation for work that is not undertaken at the express
direction or request of the employer and must be at his or
her place of abode in order for the injury to not be
§ 31-275 (1) (F) provides the definition of
‘‘place of abode'' to be used in §
31-275 (1) (E). Section 31-275 (1) (F) provides as follows:
‘‘For purposes of subparagraph (E) of this
subdivision, ‘place of abode' includes the inside
of the residential structure, the garage, the common
hallways, stairways, driveways, walkways and the yard . . .
.'' Section 31-275 (1) (F) does not purport to
provide an exhaustive list of the areas that will be
considered in ...