Tedesco v. Decorator Services
Precedent governing C.G.S. §31-308a claims such as the 1999 Connecticut Appellate Court case of Bowman v. Jack's Auto Sales and 2008 decision in McCarthy v. Hartford Hospital, do not make work searches mandatory prior to enabling the claimant to be paid benefits. Doreen Tedesco, injured in 1989 when a metal fire door fell on her, underwent three major spinal surgeries. She last worked in 2004 and continues to take pain medication including Oxycontin, Valium and Roxicodone. She discussed the difficulties she faced in trying to reduce her intake of pain medication. The trial commissioner concluded that she made a good faith effort to reduce her medication intake and directed her to enroll in an inpatient detoxification program at the respondent's expense and for a follow up regimen. Both the claimant and respondent filed motions to correct. The commissioner granted the respondent's motion to correct adding a job search requirement prior to her inpatient admission and denied the claimant's objection asserting that the issue was not raised at trial and contravened an agreement between the parties. The claimant appealed. While the appeal was pending, the claimant entered a treatment facility. The only issue remaining on appeal concerned the trial commissioner's decision to approve the respondent's motion to correct and to overrule the claimant's objection. The Compensation Review Board found insufficient grounds to sustain the decision and remanded the matter for further consideration. The finding and orders were otherwise affirmed. The respondent did not challenge the claimant's argument that the issue of work searches was not properly noticed, arguing instead that the claimant's counsel re-opened the issue by contesting the issue of work capacity. A review of the hearing transcript revealed no reference by any witness to the issue of job searches. The first time the issue was raised was in the respondent's motion to correct. The motion was granted before the claimant had an opportunity to object. Because precedent establishes that job searches are not required in a C.G.S. §31-308a case, the commissioner needed to articulate his rationale for ordering job searches here.