Enjoying What You Do

Enjoy what you do for a living – a goal a lot people are unable to attain. Many people may look at the legal profession as one with a lot of stressed, overworked, and tired individuals that can’t possibly be happy. While those things may be true for a lot of attorneys, I don’t think that serves as a mutual exclusion to happiness. In fact, I have found some of those most taxed are in fact blissful underneath it all.



“If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already.” Abraham Lincoln, 1855

Over the last week, members of our firm attended the DRI Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C. This was my first DRI event, with the fortunate exception of being a guest at a reception in San Diego a few years ago (held on the deck of the USS Midway!) The experience was inspiring, enlightening, and a whole lot of fun!

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.

Reflections from a Trip to Oz

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” Dorothy

In 2010, after practicing law in the Great State of Maine for 18 years, I had the brilliant notion of ditching my secure little life in Portland, selling everything I owned, with the exception of the few precious items that would fit in my trusty Subaru, quitting my profession, and heading off to live over the rainbow in the Southern California. For all intents and purposes, this was not such a bad idea. What it did, besides keep me warm and snow-free for a full five years, was to give me some much needed perspective. What did I confirm? Two things: 1) Change is almost always good; 2) There’s truly no place like home…especially when home is Maine.

Is Medical Marijuana Compensable in Maine?

A Hearing Officer from the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board issued what is sure to be the first in a long line of decisions relating to the compensability of medical marijuana. In the case of Crandall v. University of Maine System, Hearing Officer Elizabeth Elwin applied DOJ guidelines  to determine whether, by paying for medical marijuana, the employer and insurer could be subject to criminal prosecution and ultimately ordered them to pay for Mr. Crandall’s medical marijuana.

After determining that Mr. Crandall’s medical marijuana use was having a positive impact on his shoulder injury management, the hearing officer reviewed a list of “enforcement priorities” issued to federal prosecutors by the Department of Justice to assess the whether or not the DOJ was likely to prosecute an insurer for, in effect, buying marijuana. Elwin pointed out that the DOJ has determined that unless the conduct in question implicates one or more of these “priorities”, it is not worth their resources to pursue prosecution, especially when it comes to seriously ill individuals and their caregivers.

The DOJ’s priorities include the prevention of distribution to minors, diversion of marijuana from a state where it is legal to where it is not, violence in cultivation and distribution, and drugged driving. The Hearing Officer ultimately found that none of the priorities were implicated in the case and the employer/insurer was unlikely to be prosecuted for issuing payment.

It is virtually guaranteed that this case will make its way to the Board’s Appellate Division, and very possibly the Supreme Judicial Court. In the meantime, other hearing officers and parties across the state have a well thought out decision from which to compare their cases. You can read the full decision here. 

Moving forward: Always a win-win!

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates

While it may be difficult to know if in fact Socrates actually wrote those exact words, the concept they encompass certainly seems reasonable, if not inspired. Why spend so much time worrying about and focusing on the past, when you could, instead, find ways to move forward and make the best of a situation? Trying to change the past is like trying to fix a flat tire by rolling the car backwards to get off that nail…it just doesn’t work! The better solution is to get out the jack, get out the spare, and change the tire! Or find someone to help fix it. In short, focus on finding a solution to the problem at hand, rather than exhausting yourself trying to undo what can’t be undone.

Peace of Mind and the Employer-Sponsored Athletic Event

Spring is finally here in Maine. After a long and snowy winter, many are ready to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Employers too are welcoming the season. Many are organizing company athletic teams and sporting events, in sports ranging from softball and golf to ultimate frisbee.

Some employers worry that by holding sporting events, they could be exposing themselves to liability under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Fortunately, that is not necessarily the case. The Workers’ Compensation Act specifically excludes voluntary participants in employer-sponsored athletic events from the definition of “employee.” That means that employers can organize voluntary sporting events without excessive worry about risking a costly workers’ compensation claim.

So, from all of us here at Tucker Law Group, play ball!

Your Employee is Out of Work for a Non Work-Related Injury: Do You Owe Workers’ Compensation Benefits? The Answer May Surprise You

In a pair of recent decisions, the Appellate Division of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board has significantly restricted the availability of the “subsequent nonwork-related injury” defense to workers’ compensation claims. For the first time, Maine employees who are out of work for non work-related injuries or diseases sustained may be entitled to lost time benefits simply by soliciting after-the-fact medical restrictions from doctors hired by their attorneys.