COMP COMMISSIONER HAS NO AUTHORITY TO REINSTATE STATE MARSHAL TO FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT UNDER CGS §5-142.

KENNETH RAMSONE VS. STATE OFCONNECTICUTAND GAB ROBBINS

A State Marshal was injured by a prisoner who assaulted him during a transport. He sustained an accepted injury to both knees and underwent multiple surgeries. He was deemed temporarily and totally disabled and collected temporary total benefits under CGS §5-142, which allows for the injured state employee to receive the full salary that he was receiving at the time of injury, as well as any annual adjustments for up to a period of five years, if such employee was engaged in hazardous duty at the time of his injury.

The claimant was released to full duty approximately three and a half years after the date of the accident. The state refused to reinstate the claimant to his previous position, asserting that the claimant had been separated from state services in good standing once the claimant had reached light duty status, pursuant to CGS §5-244. The claimant argued that under CGS §5-142 the state was required to restore the claimant to full time employment and full wage benefits as of the date that he had been eligible to returned to work without restrictions, pursuant to his treating physician.

The Compensation Review Board rejected this argument for two reasons:  first the CRB held that the Workers’ Compensation Commission had no statutory jurisdiction which would enable it to require an employee to be returned to work by the State of Connecticut; and second, the claimant’s interpretation of this statute would allow an injured hazardous duty officer to be entitled to full salary for five years after the date of injury irrespective of his recovery and work capacity. Because this would lead to a bizarre or unreasonable result, the CRB rejected this interpretation of the statute and found that the trial commissioner had properly dismissed this case.

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