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Desmond v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

April 17, 2018

SANDHYA DESMOND
v.
YALE-NEW HAVEN HOSPITAL, INC., ET AL.

          Argued January 30, 2018

         Procedural History

         Action to recover damages for, inter alia, statutory theft, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven, where the court, Nazzaro, J., granted the defendants' motion to strike; thereafter, the court denied the plaintiff's request for leave to amend her substitute complaint; subsequently, the court denied the plaintiff's motion for reargument and reconsideration; thereafter, the court, Ecker, J., overruled the plaintiff's objections to the defendants' request to revise her substitute complaint, granted the defendants' motion for judgment, and rendered judgment of dismissal, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. Reversed in part; further proceedings.

          Eric M. Desmond, for the appellant (plaintiff).

          Phyllis M. Pari, with whom was Angelica L. Mack, for the appellees (defendants).

          Sheldon, Keller and Bright, Js.

          OPINION

          SHELDON, J.

         The plaintiff, Sandhya Desmond, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing her complaint against the defendants, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Inc. (hospital), and Yale-New Haven Health Services, Inc., alleging statutory theft, common-law fraud, violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., breach of contract, and statutory negligence. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) determined that it lacked jurisdiction over her claim for statutory theft because the exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., barred her from bringing such a claim in the Superior Court, and (2) denied her request for leave to amend her complaint to add a claim for retaliatory discrimination pursuant to General Statutes § 31-290a. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.[1]

         This court set forth the following undisputed factual and procedural history in an earlier appeal brought by this plaintiff, Desmond v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, Inc., 138 Conn.App. 93, 50 A.3d 910 (Desmond I), cert. denied, 307 Conn. 942, 58 A.3d 258 (2012). ‘‘At all times relevant to this appeal, the plaintiff was an employee of the hospital. On December 30, 2004, she was injured in the course of her employment. According to the plaintiff, she suffered a spill-related fall while at work and subsequently was diagnosed with bilateral, acute post-traumatic carpal tunnel injuries. Her physicians have advised her that, absent medical treatment, she permanently will be unable to use her hands.

         ‘‘Subsequently, she filed a workers' compensation claim with regard to her injury, and the defendants accepted the claim. On March 6, 2008, she filed a federal action in United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, in which she alleged various claims under state law and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. On March 23, 2009, the District Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss as to the plaintiff's state law claims, allowing the action to proceed only on her claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

         ‘‘On May 20, 2010, the plaintiff filed in the Superior Court the operative complaint in th[is] . . . case. The complaint contained ten counts, alleging against each of the defendants workers' compensation fraud, statutory negligence, breach of contract, unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of CUTPA and delay in the delivery of benefits under the act in violation of the plaintiff's state constitutional right to due process. The complaint alleged that the defendants had made various filings with the [W]orkers' [C]ompensation [C]ommission (commission) in a bad faith and fraudulent attempt to delay treatment. The complaint alleged that these bad faith attempts to delay treatment caused the plaintiff's condition to worsen, as she did not receive necessary treatment.

         ‘‘On June 7, 2010, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the exclusivity provision of the act barred the action and that the plaintiff had failed to exhaust her administrative remedies under the act. The court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss on December 16, 2010. Relying on our Supreme Court's decision in DeOliveira v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 273 Conn. 487, 870 A.2d 1066 (2005), the court held that the plaintiff's claims did not allege conduct that was sufficiently egregious to remove the claims from the exclusive jurisdiction of the commission. The plaintiff filed . . . [an] appeal on January 20, 2011.'' Desmond I, supra, 138 Conn.App. 95-96.

         On appeal in Desmond I, ‘‘the plaintiff claim[ed] that the court improperly held that it lacked jurisdiction over her claims because the exclusivity provision of the act barred her from bringing an action in the Superior Court. The plaintiff argue[d] that the court erroneously determined that its analysis was controlled by DeOliveira . . . and, instead, maintain[ed] that General Statutes § 31-290c establishes a civil cause of action over which the commission lacks jurisdiction. In the alternative, the plaintiff argue[d] that, if DeOliveira d[id] apply and actions under § 31-290c ordinarily must be brought before the commission, the [trial] court improperly held that the present case did not involve egregious conduct that warranted an exception from the general rule of exclusivity.'' Id., 96-97.

         This court rejected both of the plaintiff's arguments, holding that it was ‘‘clear that the plaintiff's claimed injuries allegedly caused by the defendants' bad faith delays in medical treatment, arose out of and in the course of the workers' compensation claims process'' and thus that those injuries ‘‘fall within the jurisdiction of the commission.'' Id., 102. This court further held that even if the plaintiff's allegations were afforded ‘‘their most damaging interpretation, the defendants' conduct was not on the level of egregious behavior that . . . could provide an ...


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