THOMAS HEALEY v. HAWKEYE CONSTRUCTION, LLC, et al., SC 18730
Compensation Review Board
Workers' Compensation; Whether the Fact that the Employment Contract was Formed in Connecticut Provides a Sufficient Basis for Applying this State's Workers' Compensation Laws. The plaintiff, a Connecticut resident, is an electrician. In September, 2004, the plaintiff received a telephone call from his union hall indicating that the defendant, a utility construction company located in New York, was looking for workers to travel to Florida to repair hurricane damage. Thereafter, the plaintiff, from Connecticut, telephoned the defendant in New York. During the telephone call, the defendant offered the plaintiff a job in Florida. The plaintiff accepted the offer and traveled to the defendant's office in New York to complete employment paperwork. While in Florida, the plaintiff suffered a compensable injury to his knee that arose out of his employment with the defendant, and he filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits in Connecticut. The trial commissioner first addressed the issue of whether the workers' compensation commission (commission) had jurisdiction over the plaintiff's claim. The commissioner concluded that, although the employment contract was formed and consummated during the telephone call from Connecticut to New York, the plaintiff's employment did not start until he traveled to New York and his employment relationship with the defendant took place exclusively outside Connecticut. The commissioner thus determined that there was no "substantial" relationship between Connecticut and the employment contract, that Connecticut law did not apply to the plaintiff's claim and that the commission lacked jurisdiction to award benefits to the plaintiff. The plaintiff appealed to the compensation review board, which affirmed the commissioner's decision, and the plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Court (124 Conn. App. 215). That court first concluded that the employment contract was formed in Connecticut in light of the fact that the plaintiff expressed his words of acceptance here. Thereafter, the court reversed the board's decision, ruling that, as Connecticut was both the place of the plaintiff's residence and the place of the contract's formation, this state's relationship to the employment contract was sufficiently significant such that Connecticut law may be applied to the plaintiff's workers' compensation claim. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court properly concluded that the formation of the employment contract in Connecticut provided sufficient basis for application of this state's workers' compensation laws.