Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Woodbury-Correa v. Reflexite Corp.

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

June 18, 2019

MARCELLA WOODBURY-CORREA
v.
REFLEXITE CORPORATION

          Argued January 28, 2019

         Procedural History

         Appeal from the decision by the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Sixth District denying the plaintiff's motion to preclude the defendant from contesting liability as to her claim for certain workers' compensation benefits, brought to the Compensation Review Board, which affirmed the commissioner's decision, and the plaintiff appealed to this court. Reversed; further proceedings.

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

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

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

          OPINION

          BRIGHT, J.

         The plaintiff, Marcella Woodbury-Correa, appeals from the decision of the 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 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 the commissioner's decision with the board.[5]

         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 ‘‘impossibility.'' This appeal followed. Additional facts will be set forth as necessary.

         Before reviewing the plaintiff's claims, we set forth the applicable standard of review. ‘‘The commissioner has the power and duty, as the trier of fact, to determine the facts . . . and [n]either the . . . board nor this court has the power to retry facts. . . . The conclusions drawn by [the commissioner] from the facts found [also] 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 review 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 . . . . Furthermore, [i]t is well established that, in resolving issues of statutory construction under the [Workers' Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq.], 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. . . .

         ‘‘Our scope of review of the actions of the board is similarly limited. . . . The role of this court is to determine whether the review [board's] decision results from an incorrect application of the law to the subordinate facts or from an inference illegally or unreasonably drawn from them.'' (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Wiblyi v. McDonald's Corp., 168 Conn.App. 77, 84-86, 144 A.3d 1075 (2016).

         ‘‘In deciding a motion to preclude, the commissioner must engage [in] a two part inquiry. First, he must determine whether the employee's notice of claim is adequate on its face. See General Statutes § 31-294c (a). Second, he must decide whether the employer failed to comply with § 31-294c either by filing a notice to contest the claim or by commencing payment on that claim within twenty-eight days of the notice of claim. See General Statutes § 31-294c (b).[6] If the notice of claim is adequate but the employer fails ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.