December 4, 2018
from the decision of the Workers' Compensation
Commissioner for the Sixth District denying the
plaintiff's motion to preclude the defendant from
contesting the extent of the plaintiff's injury and
denying the plaintiff's motion to correct, brought to the
Compensation Review Board, which affirmed the
commissioner's decision, and the plaintiff appealed to
this court. Affirmed.
Jennifer B. Levine, with whom was Harvey L. Levine, for the
Nicholas C. Varunes, with whom was Christopher Young, for the
Lavine, Keller and Bishop, Js.
plaintiff, Wilfredo Quinones, appeals from the decision of
the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the decision
of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Sixth
District, Stephen B. Delaney, denying the plaintiff's
motion to preclude the defendant, R. W. Thompson Co., Inc.,
from contesting the extent of the plaintiff's injury. On
appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board improperly (1)
found there was no error when the commissioner rejected an
alleged stipulation that the case be decided on the original
record and (2) affirmed the denial of the plaintiff's
motion to preclude despite the defendant's failure to
file a form 43. We affirm the decision of the board.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to our
resolution of this appeal. On March 16, 2010, during the
course of his employment with the defendant, the plaintiff
sustained compensable injuries when the deck of a road paving
machine fell on him. He began to receive workers'
compensation benefits on March 23, 2010. Although the
plaintiff timely filed a form 30C claiming benefits on October
25, 2010, he refiled a form 30C on February 10, 2011, because
he lost the return receipts from the postal service related
to his first filing. The defendant did not contest the
plaintiff's claim by filing a form 43 and began paying
the plaintiff weekly indemnity payments in the amount of
$328.58 from March 23, 2010, until November 8, 2011. On
October 17, 2011, the defendant, however, sought to
discontinue the benefits it was paying the plaintiff by
filing a form 36,  alleging that the plaintiff was able to
return to work. The form 36 was approved without objection
on November 2, 2011. Consequently, the plaintiff received no
more compensation benefit payments after November 8, 2011. On
February 29, 2012, the plaintiff filed a motion to preclude
the defendant from denying him further compensation benefits.
Commissioner Clifton Thompson conducted a formal hearing on
April 18, 2012. After the hearing, but before the parties
submitted post trial briefs, Commissioner Thompson died, and
the case was assigned to Commissioner Delaney.
the Workers' Compensation Commission (commission)
contacted the parties regarding the former commissioner's
death, the parties were told that they could have a hearing
denovoor request the commission to assign a substitute
commissioner to decide the case on the basis of a review of
the transcript, exhibits, and as of yet unfiled briefs. The
plaintiff objected to a trial de novo in a letter dated May
24, 2012, and stated that a decision should be rendered upon
review of the record.The defendant, in a letter dated May 24,
2012, stated that it ‘‘[had] no objection to
[the] matter [being] reassigned to a new commissioner for a
finding on the papers based on the April 18, 2012 formal
hearing transcript and the briefs submitted by the
August 31, 2012, the commissioner scheduled a formal hearing
to open the record for articulation of the parties'
positions and arguments. On September 7, 2012, the plaintiff
filed an objection to the commissioner's order to open
the formal hearing. At a formal hearing on October 1, 2012,
the commissioner heard the plaintiff's objection, and
ruled that he had the authority to open the record and was
recalling the plaintiff for further questioning. The
plaintiff thereafter filed an appeal to the board on October
19, 2012, challenging the right of the commissioner to open
the record and take further evidence. The board issued a
decision on January 16, 2014, concluding that the matter was
not ripe for review. On May 15, 2014, the commissioner held a
formal hearing. On July 11, 2014, he issued his decision
denying the plaintiff's motion to preclude. The plaintiff
appealed to the board, arguing that the commissioner
improperly opened the record in contravention of the
parties' stipulation and denied his motion to preclude.
On July 29, 2015, the board found that there was no
stipulation between the parties, and even if there was a
stipulation, the commissioner had the authority to open the
record. The board affirmed his denial of the motion to
preclude. This appeal followed.
threshold matter, we set forth the standard of review.
‘‘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]. . . . A state agency is not entitled,
however, to special deference when its determination of a
question of law has not previously been subject to judicial
scrutiny. . . . Where . . . [a workers' compensation]
appeal involves an issue of statutory construction that has
not yet been subjected to judicial scrutiny, this court has
plenary power to review the administrative
decision.'' (Citations omitted; internal quotation
marks omitted.) Day v. Middletown, 59 Conn.App. 816,
819, 757 A.2d 1267, cert. denied, 254 Conn. 945, 762 A.2d 900
(2000). ‘‘We [accord] deference to . . . a
time-tested agency interpretation of a statute, but only when
the agency has consistently followed its construction over a
long period of time, the statutory language is ambiguous, and
the agency's interpretation is reasonable.''
State Medical Society v. Board of Examiners in
Podiatry, 208 Conn. 709, 719, 546 A.2d 830 (1988).
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 . . . . In seeking to
determine that meaning . . . [we] first . . . 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
[i]n applying these general principles, we are mindful that
the [Workers' Compensation Act (act), General Statutes
§ 31-275 et seq.] 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.) Kinsey v. World PAC, 152 Conn.App.
116, 124, 98 A.3d 66 (2014).
powers and duties of workers' compensation commissioners
are conferred upon them for the purposes of carrying out the
stated provisions of the [act]. . . . It is well settled that
the commissioner's jurisdiction is confined by the . . .
act and limited by its provisions.'' (Citations
omitted; internal quotation ...