Paradis v. Twin Rivers Paper Company

Decided: January 23, 2017

Topic: Retirement Presumption

In this recent Appellate Division decision, the retirement presumption in §223 of the Workers’ Compensation Act was addressed. For those unfamiliar with this particular section of the Act, the retirement presumption stands for the premise that upon retirement from active employment, when receipt of retirement benefits begins, it is presumed a loss of earnings does not exist. The employee may rebut this presumption with a preponderance of evidence for total incapacity, but should they fail, entitlement to incapacity benefits will be denied.

Stoliker v. Northern Maine Medical Center

Decided: January 6, 2017

Topic: Res Judicata

The first Appellate Division decision of 2017 echoes the cluster of res judicata cases from the end of 2016 with some additional interesting highlights regarding §312 opinions and contrary medical evidence.

Clayton v. State of Maine

Date: December 16, 2016

Topic: Entitlement to Incapacity Benefits During Full-time School Attendance

In a recent decision by the Maine Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division, the panel upheld Administrative Law Judge Pelletier’s determination that full-time school attendance does not preclude an award of partial incapacity benefits. The employee’s Petition for Award was granted at the hearing level, providing him with ongoing partial incapacity benefits for a
work-related right hand and wrist injury. The Department argued the employee’s decision to attend school full-time without working constituted a removal from the workforce, disqualifying him from receiving incapacity benefits during that period.

Genest v. S.D. Warren Company

Decided: November 3, 2016

Topic: Average Weekly Wage Calculation with Fringe Benefits

It may be tempting to read this recent Appellate Division decision and choose to overlook it due too much math being involved to figure out what exactly has been decided and whether it matters. Luckily for you, I’ve done all the math and will just tell you now – the difference in the two arguments in dollars and cents could be astounding for similar lifetime cases. Plainly, the employer/insurer argued the benefit should be capped at $97.78, but the panel affirmed the Administrative Law Judge’s decision the employee is entitled to $156.05. Here are the facts that get us there…

Torrey v. Island Nursing Home

Decided: October 28, 2016

Topic: Arising out of employment

In a recent en banc decision by the Maine Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division, the panel upheld Administrative Law Judge David Hirtle’s determination that a non-mandatory vaccination injury arose out of the employment. The Workers’ Compensation Board director, Paul Sighinolfi, determined the issues presented by Torrey v. Island Nursing Home warranted consideration by the entire panel of Administrative Law Judges, thus why it is called an *en banc *decision. Also unique is that the oral argument for this case was held live at this past year’s Comp Summit at the Samoset Resort before a large crowd.

Cantara v. Dube Design & Construction, Inc.

Decided: October 20, 2016

Topic: Payment of benefits pending appeal

Promptly pay what is ordered whether or not you agree with the decision – this is the message the Maine Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division recently affirmed in a pair of decisions in “Cantara v. Dube Design & Construction, Inc”. Administrative law judge Mike Stovall had ordered payment of incapacity benefits during the initial proceeding on account of Mr. Cantara being deemed an employee and not an independent contractor. Those benefits were not paid within the mandatory 10 day period and Mr. Cantara pursued penalties under 39-A M.R.S.A §324(2). $5,000.00 was awarded

A Prescription for Murder

“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” John Foster Dulles

For the first time in US history, a doctor has been convicted of murder related to the over-prescribing of controlled substances. According to CNN, Hsiu-Ying, 45, was found guilty last week of 23 counts, including 19 counts of unlawful controlled substance prescription. The charges were based on the deaths of three young men, all under the age of 30.