ZACHARY BECKWITH, CLAIMANT-APPELLEE vs. APOLLO DESIGN SERVICE, INC. EMPLOYER and HARTFORD INSURANCE GROUP, INSURER, RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS

CASE NO. 903 CRD-1-89-8Workers’ Compensation Commission
JANUARY 17, 1991

The claimant was represented at the trial level and in the early stages of this appeal, by Mark Blakeman, Esq., Michelson, Kane, Royster Barger. In the later proceedings claimant represented himself. However, the claimant did not appear at oral argument or file a brief.

The respondents were represented by Jonathan F. Reik, Esq., McGann, Bartlett, and Brown.

Although the Second Injury Fund was not a named party its representative Michael Belzer, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, did not attend oral argument. However, no briefs were filed by the Second Injury Fund.

This Petition for Review from the First District August 2, 1989 “Finding and Dismissal of Claim” was heard June 29, 1990 before a Compensation Review Division panel consisting of the Commission Chairman, John Arcudi, and Commissioners A. Thomas White, Jr. and James Metro.

OPINION

JOHN ARCUDI, CHAIRMAN.

Respondents seek review of the First District decision continuing total disability benefits. That decision was the result of two (2) Forms 36 — Notice to Commissioner and Employee of Intention to Discontinue Benefits, filed by the respondents. The first Form 36 was received December 22, 1987, the second, March 10, 1988. Both documents sought to discontinue claimant’s total incapacity benefits on December 21, 1987. In the alternative benefits should cease June 14, 1988.

The commissioner noted the existence of a Voluntary Agreement between the parties approved March 14, 1988. He found the Voluntary Agreement described the claimant’s injury as Post Traumatic Sciatic Neuropathy sustained February 23, 1987. Thereafter, the respondent requested and a formal hearing was held. The commissioner concluded that the respondents had failed to prove that claimant’s total incapacity status had changed.

On appeal the ultimate issue presented is whether the trial commissioner erred in finding claimant continued to be totally disabled as a result of the February 23, 1987 injury. Whether a claimant continues to be totally disabled is dependent upon the factual findings of the trial commissioner. Neumann v. Southern Connecticut Gas Co., 4 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 62
(1987). As such, on review, we are limited to determining whether there was evidence to support the trial commissioner’s conclusion, whether the conclusion was contrary to law or based on unreasonable or impermissible factual inferences. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535 (1988). There was evidence before the trial commissioner from which he could reasonably conclude that the claimant continued to be totally disabled. Specifically we refer to the June 24, 1987 report of Dr. William N. Jones, M. D. in which the doctor noted that, “This man is incapable of gainful employment in his present disability status.” Therefore we cannot say that the trial commissioner’s conclusion was “so unreasonable as to justify judicial interference.” Bailey v. Mitchell, 113 Conn. 721 (1931).

Claimant in the instant matter was represented by counsel in the proceedings below. He was also represented during the early proceedings in this appeal, but became unrepresented in the appeal’s later stages. He was unable to attend oral argument. However, a few days prior to the date of oral argument he submitted various documents and requested that at least a part of the submitted documents be included in his records. These documents were not considered in our deliberations.

We, therefore, affirm the August 2, 1989 Finding and Dismissal of the claim of the respondents.

Having concluded as we have, we grant interest at the rate permitted by Sec. 31-301c(b) for any sums which may have been properly owed to the claimant and which were unpaid during the pendency of this appeal.