CASE NO. 03705 CRB-06-97-10 CLAIM NO. 600001078Workers’ Compensation Commission
DECEMBER 11, 1998
The employer was represented by Seth Feigenbaum, Esq., City of New Britain, Corporation Counsel’s office, 27 West Main Street, New Britain, CT 06051.
The Second Injury Fund was represented by Nancy Sussman, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, P.O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.
This Petition for Review from the October 10, 1997 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Sixth District, was heard May 8, 1998 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners Michael S. Miles and Stephen B. Delaney.
JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN.
The respondent-appellant, City of New Britain/Consolidated School District of New Britain, has petitioned for review from the Commissioner acting for the Sixth District’s October 10, 1997 Finding and Award. In that Finding and Award the trial commissioner ordered the Second Injury Fund to reimburse the appellant for sums paid on the claimant’s behalf for group health and life insurance for the period of July 4, 1992 to June 30, 1995,. However, the trial commissioner also concluded that the Second Injury Fund was not required to reimburse the employer for sums paid on claimant’s behalf after July 1, 1995.
The appellant’s obligation to pay group health and life insurance benefits during the claimant’s eligibility for Workers’ Compensation arises under § 31-284b . Sec. 31-349(e) and § 31-284b(d)
permitted an employer to seek reimbursement from the Second Injury Fund for sums paid pursuant to § 31-284b in instances where the claimant continued to be totally disabled for a period of 104 weeks. However, the legislature in its Second Injury Fund reform legislation contained in P.A. 95-277, repealed and amended various parts of the Second Injury Fund legislative scheme. Pertinent to this appeal, is the legislature’s enactment of P.A. 95-277, § 3 which repealed § 31-349(e).
In the instant matter the claimant sustained a compensable injury on March 12, 1986. For the period of July 4, 1988 through July 4, 1992 the municipality sought and was reimbursed for costs associated with claimant’s life insurance and medical benefits. For the period July 4, 1992 to June 30, 1995 the City of New Britain sought reimbursement in the amount of $16,422.72 for costs associated with providing the claimant with life insurance and medical benefits.
The City of New Britain, however, also sought reimbursement for sums paid after July 1, 1995 for the claimant’s life insurance and medical benefits. July 1, 1995 was the effective date of P.A. 95-277, § 3 which repealed § 31-349(e). Thus, the issue before the trial commissioner was whether the repeal of § 31-349(e) by P.A. 95-277, § 3 ended the Second Injury Fund’s obligation to reimburse an employer as set out in §31-284b(d).
The issue presented in the appeal is the same legal issue which this panel considered in Badolato v. New Britain, 03704 CRB-06-97-10 (November 24, 1998). In the instant case, as in Badolato, the trial commissioner held that P.A. 95-277, § 3’s repeal of § 31-349(e) also served to repeal by implication § 31-284b(d). For all the reasons we set out inBadolato, supra, we affirm the commissioner’s Finding and Award, and his conclusion that the Second Injury Fund was required to reimburse the employer under § 31-284b(d) for any sums paid on behalf of the claimant prior to July 1, 1995.
Commissioner Stephen B. Delaney concurs.
In order to maintain, as nearly as possible, the income of employees who suffer employment-related injuries, any employer who provides accident and health insurance or life insurance coverage for any employee or makes payments or contributions at the regular hourly or weekly rate for full-time employees to an employee welfare plan, shall provide to the employee equivalent insurance coverage or welfare plan payments or contributions while the employee is eligible to receive or is receiving compensation pursuant to this chapter, or while the employee is receiving wages under a provision for sick leave payments for time lost due to an employment-related injury. As used in this section, “income” means all forms of remuneration to an individual from his employment, including wages, accident and health insurance coverage, life insurance coverage and employee welfare plan contributions and “employee welfare plan” means any plan established or maintained for employees or their families or dependents, or for both, for medical, surgical or hospital care benefits.
For a more detailed legislative history of § 31-284b see Civardi v.Norwich, 231 Conn. 287, 296 (1994). Civardi also details the judicial repeal, in part, of that act insofar as the statute applies to employment benefits controlled by ERISA. Id. at 298 n. 14.
In any case where compensation payments to an individual for total incapacity under the provisions of section 31-307 continue for more than one hundred four weeks, the cost of accident and health insurance or life insurance coverage after the one-hundred-fourth week shall be paid out of the Second Injury Fund in accordance with the provisions of section 31-349.
COMMISSIONER MICHAEL S. MILES, DISSENTING.
For all the reasons I stated in my dissenting opinion in Badolato v.New Britain, 03704 CRB-06-97-10 (November 24, 1998). I would reverse the trial commissioner’s ruling in this matter.
Lorraine Lockery Administrative Hearings Lead Specialist Compensation Review Board Workers’ Compensation Commission