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.

The panel reviewed the arguments made by the Employer, which aimed at the admissibility of a §207 examiner’s opinion, when it was provided subsequent to a §312 report from previous litigation. It seems the Employer’s arguments were ultimately deemed moot, since the §207 report was in fact admitted into evidence. The problem here for the employer was the opinion of the §207 physician was not one regarding a change in circumstances subsequent to the §312 IME opinion previously provided, but rather a different opinion than what had already been adopted by decree. Had Dr. Curtis provided an opinion that the effects of the employee’s injury ended sometime after the prior §312 opinion and ensuing decree, this case could have potentially resulted in a more favorable outcome for the employer. However, attempting to change the past is textbook res judicata and thus the prior decision was affirmed.

For full text of the decision, visit: http://www.maine.gov/wcb/Departments/appellate/2017decisions/17-1_Stoliker_v._Northern_Maine_Medical_Center_1-6-17.pdf