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Medical Review Board’s Order Properly Excluded in Connecticut Worker’s Compensation Claim

The Connecticut Supreme Court has affirmed an order by the compensation review board that approved the refusal of the workers’ compensation commissioner to admit into evidence a decision by the state medical examining board awarding a prison guard disability retirement benefits.

The plaintiff, Carl Dzienkiewicz, worked as a prison guard from March 1983 until he had a stroke in March 2004. The medical board awarded him disability retirement benefits. Dzienkiewicz received workers’ compensation benefits on the grounds that his stroke was caused by work stress.

A medical expert for the Department of Corrections testified the stroke was caused by preexisting health problems rather than work stress. To prove his disability was work-related, Dzienkiewicz sought to enter into evidence the medical board’s decision awarding him disability retirement benefits at a hearing before the workers’ compensation commissioner.

After ascertaining the medical board had made its determination solely on the basis of its review of Dzienkiewicz’s medical reports, the Commissioner disallowed the medical board’s report from being entered into evidence. That order was only seven sentences.

By contrast, there was expert testimony before the Commissioner that was the result of Dzienkiewicz’s medical records and himself being examined. The medical board’s order was mere speculation and conjecture that was not subject to cross-examination, so it had little evidentiary value. As such, the compensation review board’s order was affirmed. See: Dzienkiewicz v. Department of Correction (SC 18255) April 12, 2009.

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Related legal case

Dzienkiewicz v. Department of Correction