ADAMS v. STOP SHOP, 380 CRD-2-85 (5-22-87)


CASE NO. 380 CRD-2-85Workers’ Compensation Commission
MAY 22, 1987

The claimant was represented at the trial level by Nancy O’Neil, Esq., and on appeal by Barbara J. Collins, Esq., Law Office of J. William Gagne, Jr. However, no brief was filed at oral argument.

The respondent was represented at the trial level by Frank Gorham, Esq. On appeal, the respondent was represented by Peter D. Quay, Esq., National Employers Co. and George Waldron, Esq., Murphy Beane. Only Attorney Waldron appeared at oral argument and filed a brief on appeal.

This Petition for Review from the Commissioner of the Second District’s January 23, 1985 Order and January 30, 1985 Supplemental Order was heard April 26, 1985 before a Compensation Review Division panel consisting of the Commission Chairman, John Arcudi, and Commissioners Gerald Kolinsky and Frank Vetrilli [Verrilli].


JOHN ARCUDI, Chairman.

Claimant suffered a compensable injury to her jaw November 16, 1984 when she was struck in the head by a mop handle in the course of her Stop and Shop employment. This injury exacerbated claimant’s pre-existing tempomandibular joint syndrome, a condition for which she had received medical care before November 16. This previous treatment had included unsuccessful surgeries by Connecticut doctors and a successful surgical procedure by Dr. Bruce Epker of Fort Worth, Texas. In fact, she seemed well on the road to recovery from this last operation when the November injury occurred.

After the Stop and Shop injury the district file reveals she underwent treatment from several Connecticut physicians. One of these physicians recommended that she return to Texas to be treated by Dr. Epker, and she requested an order permitting such treatment. The Second District Commissioner granted her request as of January 23, 1985 and also entered further orders authorizing payment of travel and living expenses during the course of the Texas medical procedure.

Respondents argue that it was error to authorize an out of state physician and further that the proceedings violated due process. Sec. 31-294 C.G.S. permits a Commissioner even without hearing to “authorize or direct a change of such physician or surgeon,” Basney v. Sachs, 132 Conn. 207, 209
(1945); Bowen v. Stanadyne, Inc., 2 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 60, 232 CRD-1-83 (1984). In the instant case the Commissioner held two hearings, albeit informal ones, with notice to all parties. Moreover, one of the authorized Connecticut physicians had recommended the Texas treatment. We have previously considered the matter of out of state physicians in Phelps v. State of Connecticut, 2 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 92, 133 CRD-2-82 (1984); Veillette v. State of Connecticut, 288 CRD-2-83 (1/21/87). The statute and the precedents there cited demonstrate no denial of due process.

We, therefore, affirm the trial Commissioner’s Order of January 23, 1985 and Supplemental Order of January 30, 1985.

Commissioners Gerald Kolinsky and Frank Verrilli concur.