In this case addressing appeals to the newly constituted Appellate Division, the hearing officer issued a decree on May 4, 2012 and additional findings and conclusions on August 6, 2012. On a request for reconsideration, the hearing officer reported the case to the Board, which voted to deny a request for review on September 11, 2012. An appeal to the Law Court followed.
On August 2, 2012, the Law Court, enacting the Maine Legislature’s PL 2011, amended Maine Rule of Appellate Procedure 23 stating that decisions of the Workers’ Compensation Board would be subject to appeal to the Appellate Division for decisions published on or after September 1, 2012.
In the present case, the Court found that although the initial decree and the subsequent findings were published before September 1, 2012, there still remained a post-decision referral to the Board which was pending as of September 1, 2012. Therefore, the Court found that the appeal was properly before the Appellate Division and not before the Law Court.
The impact of this decision on cases currently in litigation is limited as all Board decisions issued on or after September 1, 2012 are clearly before the Appellate Division. Discretionary appeals to the Law Court are only available after appellate review by the Appellate Division.