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Carolyn P. Kelly
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Attorney Carolyn P. Kelly is a Director who has practiced law in the area of Workers' Compensation and in particular under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act for over 20 years. She has made a significant contribution to the development of Longshore case law in the Second Circuit having represented Claimants in some of the most frequently cited cases. In Barscz v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs and Electric Boat Corporation 486 F.3d 744 (2d Cir. 2007) the court reversed the decision below and determined that an employee's disability benefits could not be credited against a death claim. It further held that the employer bears the burden of establishing the apportionment of any State settlement claim to offset a death claim. The case of Pietrunti v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs 119 F.3d, 1035 (2d Cir. 1997) stands for the principle that treating physicians are accorded special deference. In LaFaille v. Benefits Review Board 884 F.2d 54 (2d Cir. 1989) the Court confirmed that in order to establish a potential loss of wage earning capacity, the post injury wages must be adjusted backward in time to account for post injury inflation and then compared to the pre-injury average weekly wage. This case also established that a nominal award (de minimus) may be used to preserve a possible future award where there is a significant physical impairment without a present loss of wage earning capacity. In Palombo v. Director, Office of Workers Compensation Programs 937 F.2d 70 (2d Cir. 1991) the Court adopted the three part analysis of the Fifth Circuit in determining when total disability becomes permanent. When a claimant shows he can no longer perform his usual job, a prima facie case for total disability is established. Then the burden shifts to the employer to establish the availability of suitable alternate employment. A claimant can rebut the employer's showing of suitable alternate employment and retain his eligibility for total disability benefits if he shows he diligently pursued employment opportunities, but was unable to secure a position. Other reported cases are listed below.

While handling many cases for orthopedic injuries, Attorney Kelly has also worked extensively with persons suffering from occupational diseases such as asbestosis and lung cancer, stress disorders, and heart disease arising in the workplace.

Attorney Kelly also handles cases under the Defense Base Act, particularly relevant today, because it covers injuries sustained by civilians employed at overseas military bases, on overseas construction projects for the United States government or its allies and other employees fulfilling service contracts tied to such construction projects or a National Defense activity. The Longshore Act has also been extended to cover civilian employees of Armed Forces Facilities such as Base Exchanges, who are paid from funds generated from earnings other than a Congressional Appropriation.

Carolyn Kelly is a graduate from Syracuse University with a B.A. in International Affairs. One of only five women in her starting class, she earned her law degree from the University of Oregon where she was named Comments Editor of the Oregon Law Review.

Attorney Kelly was a principal and partner in the Law Firm of O'Brien, Shafner, Stuart, Kelly & Morris, P.C. in Groton, Connecticut for 36 years before joining Suisman, Shapiro in 2008. She is a past-president of the Connecticut Bar Association and a past member of the American Bar Association's Board of Governors where she served for one year as the Chair of the Finance Committee, one of the three working committees of the Board. Attorney Kelly continues to be a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association.

Attorney Kelly has been a long time Trustee and Secretary for the Sea Research Foundation, which operates Mystic Aquarium and The Institute for Exploration.


Barscz v. Director, OWCP, 486 F.3d 744 (2nd Cir. 2007)
Pietraroia v. Northeast Utilities 254 Conn 60, 756 A.2d 845 (2000)
Blanding v. Director, OWCP, 186 F.3d 232 (2nd Cir. 1999)
Benlock v. New Haven Terminal, 48 Conn. App. 250, 706 A.2d 1390 (1998)
Pietrunti v. Director, OWCP, 119 F.3d 1035 (2nd Cir. 1997)
Palombo v. Director, OWCP, 937 F.2d 70 (2nd Cir. 1991)
Lozada v. Director, OWCP, 903 F.2d 168 (2nd Cir. 1990)
Lafaille v. Benefits Review Board, USDOL, 884 F.2d 54 (2nd Cir. 1989)

Areas of Practice

  • Workers' Compensation
  • Asbestos Litigation / Mesothelioma

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut, 1971
  • U.S. District Court District of Connecticut
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1989


  • University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, Oregon
    • J.D. - 1970
    • Honors: Phi Kappa Phi
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
    • B.A. - 1959
    • Honors: Phi Kappa Phi
    • Major: International Relations

Published Works

  • "The Case Against Oregon's Dead Man's Statutes", Oregon Law Review

Representative Cases

  • University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, Oregon
    • J.D. - 1970
    • Honors: Phi Kappa Phi
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
    • B.A. - 1959
    • Honors: Phi Kappa Phi
    • Major: International Relations

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association, Board of Governors, 1996 to 1999
  • American Bar Association, Chair, Finance Committee, 1996 to 1999
  • American Bar Association, State Delegate for Connecticut, 1993 to 1996
  • American Bar Association, State Delegate for Connecticut, 2006 to 2008
  • American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • Connecticut Bar Association, President, 1990 to 1991
  • Connecticut Bar Association, Board of Governors, 1980 to 1992
  • Connecticut Bar Association, Chair, Court Rules Advisory Committee, 1987 to 1989
  • Connecticut Bar Association, Member, Federal Judiciary Committee, 1991
  • Connecticut Bar Association, Chair, Committee on Professionalism, 1991 to 1992
  • Connecticut Bar Foundation, Director, 1984 to 1993
  • Connecticut Bar Foundation, Charter Fellow
  • Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • New London County Bar Association, Member, 1971

Past Employment Positions

  • O'Brien, Shafner, Stuart, Kelly & Morris, Principal, 1971 to 2008


  • Phi Kappa Phi