Hubbard v. State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut Health Center
Evidence Was Too Ambiguous To Support Award And Dismissal
Workers’ Compensation and Other Compensation Systems
- Compensation Review Board
- Compensation Review Board
- Nov 30 2012 (Date Decided)
- Mastropietro with Gregg and Dilzer
As stated in the 1925 Connecticut Supreme Court case of Cormican v. McMahon, "[n]o case under [the Workers' Compensation Act] should be finally determined when the …court is of the opinion that, through inadvertence, or otherwise, the facts have not been sufficiently found to render a just judgment." On Oct. 4, 2007, Rose Hubbard tripped over a scale and fell while working for the state. A voluntary agreement was approved awarding her a 10 percent permanent partial disability to her right knee. She also claimed right hip pain worsened from a 1980 injury. She stopped working for the respondent in July 2008 because no more light duty was available and did not seek new employment. The trial commissioner considered medical opinions and found Dr. Lewis' opinion persuasive that two distinct pathologies affected the claimant's hip, osteoarthritis and trochanteric bursitis, and found the bursitis alone compensable. The trier awarded benefits finding a 5 percent permanent partial disability to her right lower extremity from the compensable hip injury but found no medical evidence supported her temporary total disability benefits claim. The commissioner ordered the respondent to pay medical treatment and bills for the bursitis and dismissed other claims. The claimant's motion to correct was denied. She appealed raising several claims. The Compensation Review Board found error and remanded the matter for additional proceedings. Further findings were needed regarding the evidentiary support for the five percent permanent partial disability awarded to the claimant. The board found that the trier's conclusion could not stand if the only evidence supporting the five-percent assignment was the opinion of Dr. Murray who opined that the mechanism of injury producing the right hip disability was unrelated to the 2007 fall. None of the doctors who examined the claimant were deposed. Generally when physicians put forward contradictory or inconsistent opinions, the trier has the benefit of reviewing deposition testimony to reach his conclusions. The record was inconclusive and the matter remanded to determine if additional proceedings were warranted on whether the workplace incident constituted an aggravation of the pre-existing hip injury. Because of the ambiguity of the evidence, the board was unable to sustain the trier's dismissal of the temporary total disability benefits claim.