Dwyer v. Zink
An amendment to the Workers' Compensation Act that provides workers who are injured in the course of employment and who successfully sue tortfeasors a one-third credit, when they pay back the employer, applies prospectively, as opposed to retroactively. In 2007, the plaintiff, Shawn Dwyer, worked at United Parcel Service and was injured in the course of employment. In 2009, Dwyer sued Phil Zink, and they settled for $477,500. UPS moved to intervene and requested reimbursement for workers' compensation benefits that UPS paid to Dwyer. Dwyer sought to reduce the payment one third, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §31-293(a). Public Act 11-205 provides, "If the action [against the tortfeasor] has been brought by the employee, the claim of the employer shall be reduced by one-third of the amount of the benefits to be reimbursed to the employer, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties." UPS paid Dwyer benefits in the amount of $79,977, and Dwyer claimed he should only pay back $53,585, pursuant to Public Act 11-205. The court found that the 2011 amendment affected the substance of the administration of the Workers' Compensation Act and did not apply retroactively. Dwyer was not entitled to a one-third credit, and the court granted the motion of UPS for payment of the entire amount of the lien.