JANICE BEAUREGARD, CLAIMANT-APPELLANT vs. HARTFORD HOSPITAL, EMPLOYER and AETNA CASUALTY SURETY CO., INSURER, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

CASE NO. 603 CRD-1-87Workers’ Compensation Commission
APRIL 21, 1989

The claimant was represented by Kevin Coombes, Esq., Peck, Shluger, Coombes O’Neil.

The respondents were represented by Daniel Beharry, Esq., and additionally on appeal by Douglas Drayton, Esq. and Jason Dodge, Esq. both of Pomeranz, Drayton Stabnick.

This Petition for Review from the May 29, 1987 Finding and Award of the Commissioner for the First District was heard September 16, 1988 before a Compensation Review Division panel consisting of the Commission Chairman, John Arcudi, and Commissioners Robin Waller and Gerald Kolinsky.

OPINION

JOHN ARCUDI, Chairman.

Claimant’s appeal from the First District May 29, 1987 Finding and Award seeks to reverse the Commissioner’s denial of an award for attorney’s fees. Section 31-300, C.G.S.[1] permits such awards where a respondent has unreasonably contested liability.

As noted in other decisions, an award for attorney’s fees is a matter largely within the trial Commissioner’s discretion, Balkus v. Terry Steam Turbine, 167 Conn. 170
(1974); Robinson v. Allied Grocers Cooperative, Inc., 39 Conn. Sup. 386 (1983), aff’g 1 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 132, 68 CRD-1-81 (1982). See also, Fappiano v. Nutmeg Concrete, Inc., 6 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 29, 652 CRD-3-87
(1988), McGloin v. Gateway Industries, 5 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 148, 618 CRD-1-87 (1988); Davis v. Dwight Building Co., 2 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 51, 129 CRD-3-82 (1984); Graf v. Genovese and Massaro, Inc., 1 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. 129, 59 CRD-3-81 (1982).

We do not find that the Commissioner abused his discretion in failing to grant the claims as he did not find that the respondents had unreasonably contested liability. He specifically concluded that the delay in payment of compensation was “not . . . due to the fault or neglect of the employer or insurer but due to the processing and litigation of this complex and often emotion-charged claim”, Paragraph #40. We will generally not set aside a factual finding of a trial Commissioner unless contrary to law, without evidence or if based on impermissible or unreasonable factual inferences, Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535 (1988).

We, therefore, affirm the Finding and Award of the trial Commissioner denying attorney’s fees.

Commissioners Robin Waller and Gerald Kolinsky concur.

[1] Section 31-300, C.G.S. provides in pertinent cases where the claimant prevails and the commissioner finds that the employer or insurer has unreasonably contested liability, the commissioner may allow to the claimant a reasonable attorney’s fee.