Miller v. CPM Constructors, et al.

Background:
The employer filed a Petition for Penalties, alleging that Miller had misrepresented his condition in proceedings before the Board. The Hearing Officer determined that Miller had misrepresented his condition and imposed a civil penalty of $1,000. However, the Hearing Officer also determined that Miller did not have the capacity to repay benefits he had wrongly received and therefore did not order repayment of the benefits.

Within 30 days of that decision, the insurer petitioned to reopen the record to consider newly discovered evidence of Miller’s increased earning capacity. The Hearing Officer reopened the record and after hearing additional evidence, determined that Miller had the ability to repay benefits. The Hearing Officer denied Mr. Miller’s subsequent Petition to Reopen the record which had been filed beyond the 30-day time limit. Miller filed separate appeals to the Law Court and Superior Court. The Superior Court appeal was stayed pending the outcome of the appeal to the Law Court.

Court ruling:
The Law Court found that it had no jurisdiction to consider the employee’s appeal of an order to repay benefits pursuant to 39-A M.R.S.A. §360. Section 360(3) specifically provides that appeals from an imposition of penalties pursuant to Section 360 must be filed with the Superior Court. The appeal to the Law Court was therefore dismissed, leaving the employee’s pending appeal with the Superior Court.

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