Publications
April 30, 2019 Article

Maine WC Alert: Appellate Division Upholds Ruling on Reinstatement Provisions and Termination of Benefits

Maine Workers' Comp Alert

Maine WC Appellate Division Holds That Ongoing Noncompliance with Reinstatement Provisions in Section 218 Precludes Termination of Benefits for Expiration of Durational Cap Under 213

Section 218 of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act provides: “When an employee has suffered a compensable injury, the employee is entitled, upon request, to reinstatement to the employee’s former position if the position is available and suitable to the employee’s physical condition. If the employee’s former position is not available or suitable, the employee is entitled, upon request, to reinstatement to any other available position suitable to the employee’s physical condition.” The right to reinstatement is not absolute; an employer need not make reasonable accommodations if it can demonstrate that, “no reasonable accommodation exists or that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer,” based on various factors.

Section 218(5) provides: “The employer's failure to comply with the obligations under this section disqualifies the employer or insurance carrier from exercising any right it may otherwise have to reduce or terminate the employee’s benefits under this Act. The disqualification continues as long as the employer fails to offer reinstatement or until the employee accepts other employment.

In Dube v. Twin Rivers Paper Co. (19-12 [April 25, 2019]), the WC Appellate Division held that an employer/insurer is not entitled to an order allowing it to discontinue partial incapacity benefits pursuant to the 520-week durational limit of section 213 when a prior decree has found that the employer/insurer must first comply with the reinstatement provisions of section 218.

Firm Highlights

Publication

Maine WC Alert: Appellate Division Rules No Consequences Under 218 for Deferment of Receipt of Old-Age Social Security Benefits

In Pratt v. S.D. Warren (No. 19-3 [WCB App. Div. April 30, 2019]), S.D. Warren appealed a decision denying its Petition for Approval of Discontinuance of Incapacity Benefits. An employer may reduce incapacity benefits...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: Appellate Division Clarifies Section 327 Death Presumption

Maine Workers' Compensation Appellate Division Clarifies Burdens of Production and Proof Regarding Notice in the Context of the Section 327 Death Presumption In Estate of Deyone v. ITG Brands, LLC (WCB App. Div. 19-7...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: Appellate Division Reiterates Requirement to Trigger Retirement Presumption

Maine Workers' Comp Appellate Division Reiterates That Working in Customary Job Until Retirement Constitutes “Termination of Active Employment” Sufficient to Trigger the Retirement Presumption In Capitan v. NewPage Paper (WCB 19-10 [App. Div. April...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: New Legislation Brings Procedural Changes, Benefit Modifications

LD 756 (“ An Act To Improve the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992 ”), was signed into law by Governor Mills on June 17, 2019. LD 756 has an effective date of September...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: Appellate Division Rules on Apportionment Relief in the Context of Self-Insurance and “Changed Circumstances” on a Petition for Review

The Appellate Division recently held that apportionment relief is equally available in cases involving a single self-insured employer whose claims are administered by multiple third-party administrators (TPAs) and that separation from employment is sufficient...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: Latest Appellate Division Rulings on Health Insurance Payments, Social Security Benefits

The Maine Workers' Comp Appellate Division recently issued rulings in the cases of Rich v. Maine Turnpike Authority and Butler v. City of Portland. Health Insurance Payments Made by Self-Insured Employer for Health Insurance...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: MAE Unit Publishes Guidance on Compliance with Recent Amendments

The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board’s Monitoring, Audit & Enforcement Unit has issued a document to provide guidance on complying with certain recent amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act in P.L. 2019, c. 344 (LD...

Publication

Maine WC Appellate Division Addresses Refusal of Suitable Work and Notice

The Maine Workers' Compensation Appellate Division recently addressed cases dealing with refusal of suitable work and notice. Both decisions rely heavily on the specific facts of each case. In the context of a refusal...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: Appellate Division Addresses the Issue of Timely Notice in Two Recent Decisions

For claims for which the date of injury is on or after January 1, 2013, unless otherwise provided by the Maine Workers' Compensation Act, proceedings may not be maintained unless notice of an injury...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: Updated Version of Notice of Controversy (WCB-9) Must Be Used Effective February 1, 2020

Following the recent statutory changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board has updated the language in Box 22 of the Notice of Controversy. This new version should be used as...