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Woodbury-Correa v. Reflexite Corp.

Appellate Court of Connecticut

June 18, 2019

Marcella WOODBURY-CORREA
v.
REFLEXITE CORPORATION

         Argued January 28, 2019

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 254

          Jennifer B. Levine, with whom was Harvey L. Levine, New Britain, CT, for the appellant (plaintiff).

         Colin J. Hoddinott, Windsor, CT, with whom, on the brief, was Deborah J. DelBarba, for the appellee (defendant).

         DiPentima, C. J., and Elgo and Bright, Js.

         OPINION

         BRIGHT, J.

         [190 Conn.App. 625] Pursuant to statute (§ 31-294c [b] ), "an employer who fails to contest liability for an alleged injury ... on or before the twenty-eighth day after receiving a written notice of claim and who fails to commence payment for the alleged injury ... on or before such twenty-eighth day, shall be conclusively presumed to have accepted the compensability of the alleged injury ...." The plaintiff, Marcella Woodbury-Correa, appeals from the decision of the

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Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner (commissioner), denying the plaintiff’s motion to preclude[1] the defendant, her employer, Reflexite Corporation, from contesting liability for the repetitive trauma injuries claimed and noticed on her form 30C.[2] On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the board (1) exceeded its authority by making new factual findings that contradict the findings made by the commissioner, and (2) erred in affirming the commissioner’s denial of the motion to preclude the defendant from contesting liability for the plaintiff’s repetitive trauma injuries. We agree with both claims and reverse the decision of the board.

         We begin with the underlying facts as found by the commissioner, as well as the procedural history and uncontested facts as revealed by the record. On April 17, 2009, the plaintiff had an existing employment relationship with the defendant. On that date, she filled out a form 30C claiming repetitive trauma injuries, the [190 Conn.App. 626] symptoms of which, she alleged, began in 2003. She sent the form 30C via certified mail on April 18, 2009, both to the defendant and to the Workers’ Compensation Commission (commission). Both the commission and the defendant received the form 30C on April 20, 2009. The defendant did not file a proper and timely form 43 to dispute liability.[3] On February 24, 2014, pursuant to General Statutes § 31-294c (b), the plaintiff filed a motion to preclude the defendant from contesting liability for her repetitive trauma injuries. Nearly one year later, on January 5, 2015, the defendant filed a written objection to the plaintiff’s motion on the ground that it had filed a form 43 in a timely manner.[4]

         The commissioner found that the commission file reflected that "there were never any claims for indemnity or medical benefits for the [plaintiff]," and that the "first claim for benefits was ... some five years after the claimed date of injury." The commissioner, thereafter, concluded that it was "impossible for the [defendant] to comply with the statutory requirements to issue any benefit payments during the [twenty-eight] day period following the filing of the [plaintiff’s] form 30C as no benefits were claimed," and, on that basis, he denied the plaintiff’s motion to preclude the defendant from contesting liability. The plaintiff filed a petition for review of

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the commissioner’s decision with the board.[5]

         [190 Conn.App. 627] A hearing was held before the board on March 18, 2016. In a June 22, 2016 written decision, the board affirmed the commissioner’s decision denying the plaintiff’s motion to preclude the defendant from contesting liability, specifically agreeing, in part, that the defendant was not able to file a timely form 43 due to ...


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