Lost Preemployment Physical in Heart and Hypertension Case

In Lembrick vs State of Connecticut/ Dept. of Corrections 5543CRB-1-10-4 (February 10, 2011) the issue was whether the claimant, a correction officer, should be barred from receiving benefits pursuant to §5-145 where neither party could locate a copy of the claimant’s pre-employment physical. The CRB found that there was credible evidence in the form of the commissioner’s examination, (which attributed the claimant’s hypertension to a combination of heredity, obesity and workplace stress, without being able to quantify the relative importance of each function), to conclude that the claimant was entitled to §5-145 benefits.

The CRB emphasized that an expert witness does not have to use the magical term “substantial” “significant” or “major” to characterize the impact of the workplace stress on the claimant’s hypertension, but rather the trial commissioner must apply his/her discretion as to whether he/she believes the totality of evidence supports compensability.

The CRB also emphasized the strength of the statutory presumption of compensability stating that if the statutory prerequisites are met the employer must prove lack of causation.