March 19, 2019
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Michael Kerin, for the appellant (plaintiff).
M. Buonopane, for the appellee (named defendant).
Keller and Beach, Js.
Conn.App. 542] The plaintiff, John Rauser, appeals from the
decision of the Compensation Review Board (board), affirming
the decision of the Workers Compensation Commissioner for
the Third District (commissioner) [190 Conn.App. 543]
dismissing the plaintiffs claim for workers compensation
benefits. The plaintiff claims that the board erred in
affirming the commissioners decision in light of the fact
that the commissioner failed to set forth a factual
determination with respect to whether, at the time he
sustained the injuries for which he sought benefits, he was
on the direct route of his business travel. We affirm the
decision of the board.
basis of the subordinate factual findings made by the
commissioner, we set forth the relevant facts as follows. On
or about June 11, 2014, the plaintiff was employed by the
defendant Pitney Bowes, Inc., as a director of channel
management. He had been employed by the defendant for
twenty-eight years. Part of his work related duties required
him to develop a rapport with members of the defendants
sales staff in order to understand and evaluate not only what
they have sold to the defendants customers, but to approve
or disapprove of their sales methods. On June 8, 2014, the
plaintiff and another coworker, both of whom resided in
Connecticut, traveled to Spokane, Washington, to meet with
local sales staff employed by the [190 Conn.App. 544]
defendant. As with prior work related travel of this nature
undertaken by the plaintiff to evaluate sales, the defendant
paid for expenses related to airfare, lodging, car rental,
food, and alcoholic drinks.
plaintiff had business meetings with Spokane sales staff on
June 9 and 10, 2014. On June 11, 2014, a Spokane based sales
representative, Trish Lopez, invited the plaintiff and other
supervisory staff to a social gathering at a Spokane bar and
restaurant named Fast Eddies All Purpose Pub (Fast Eddies).
Lopez sent the invitations on behalf of Sean Johnson, who was
employed by the defendant as a general financial sales
specialist. There was no formal agenda for the event, as
there would be for a business meeting, and attendance was
considered to be voluntary. The invitation, which Lopez sent
by e-mail, specified that the gathering at Fast Eddies was
scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. The plaintiff and several of
his Spokane colleagues attended the gathering. The plaintiff
began consuming alcoholic beverages immediately upon his
arrival at or about 5:30 p.m. The plaintiff engaged in what
he viewed as joking around with his colleagues, although he
acknowledged that several of his jokes and comments were
"inappropriate and beyond the bounds of what [the
defendant] would say is acceptable." For example, the
plaintiff offered to assist two of his female colleagues with
work matters in exchange for "sexual favors." Only
a small portion of the conversation at Fast Eddies was
devoted to discussing the defendants interests.
had been instructed by one of her superiors, Jonathan Allen,
to keep an open tab at Fast Eddies to cover expenses up to
$500, but no later than 8 p.m., whichever occurred first. At
8 p.m., Lopez closed the tab incurred at Fast Eddies, which
totaled $304.78. Later, Lopez was reimbursed for this
p.m., the plaintiff and some of his colleagues left Fast
Eddies and went to a neighboring restaurant [190 Conn.App.
545] and bar named Borracho Tacos & Tequilera (Borracho).
There, the plaintiff consumed even more alcoholic beverages
and continued to make comments of a sexual nature to and in
the presence of his coworkers. For example, the plaintiff