Publications
June 16, 2020 Article

Maine Workers' Comp Alert: WCB Transition to In-Person Hearings Likely to Occur No Sooner Than August 2020; Section 312 IME’s Have Resumed

Maine Workers' Comp Alert

A conference with Maine Workers' Compensation Board Executive Director John Rohde was held last week to discuss the transition to in-person hearings at the WCB. The WCB Subcommittees also met to discuss recent developments.

There is no consensus on the time to return to in-person hearings. There is agreement that certain cases are best heard in-person, either due to credibility issues, complexity, and/or amount of documentary evidence.

The earliest the WCB will be ready for in-person hearings will be August. There will be conferences and lump sum settlement hearings scheduled for Zoom, ahead of full hearings.

For the time being, when hearings are scheduled, they will likely be held by Zoom, absent agreement of the parties to have an in-person hearing. If one party feels there is a compelling reason for an in-person hearing, the case may be scheduled for a Zoom conference with the ALJ. There may be hybrid hearings where some participants are in-person and others remote, or in which witnesses participate from a WCB conference room by computer. Face coverings and social distancing will be required. There will be a limit on the number of people allowed in a room.

The WCB is in the process of developing a hierarchy for scheduling cases. This may consist of:

  • Provisional Orders
  • Petitions for Award with lost time
  • Petitions for Review
  • Petitions for Award without lost time
  • Petitions to Fix

There is consensus that indemnity disputes of all kinds should take priority.

Finally, Section 312 examiners have started to schedule exams. One physician attempted an exam by video, which was apparently not well received.

Stay tuned for further updates as the WCB works through the transition from the pandemic.

Firm Highlights

Publication

Maine Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division Update - November 2021

Below are two recent and interesting Maine Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division decisions. The first  deals with the compensability of injuries sustained in employer-sponsored athletic events. The second deals with the referral of an employee...

Publication

How to Avoid Misclassifying Your Employees Under the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act

What criteria are necessary to classify someone as an independent contractor and how can employers avoid misclassification and the repercussions that come with it? In this article, Preti Flaherty attorney and Mainebiz guest columnist John...

Publication

Workers' Comp Alert: CMS Opposes Select Medicare Set-Asides in Updated Reference Guide

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Takes a Hard Stance Against “Non-Submit” Or “Evidence-Based” Medicare Set-Asides in an Updated Workers’ Compensation Reference Guide It has long been established that the parties in a...

News

Preti Flaherty Recognized as 2020 Top Law Firm by Antitrust Annual Report

Preti Flaherty has been recognized by the Antitrust Annual Report as a Top Antitrust Law Firm for 2020. Established in 2018, the Antitrust Annual Report is produced in partnership with the University of San...

Publication

Maine Workers' Comp Alert: WCB Meeting Notes for June 2021

The following are highlights from the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board’s meeting of June 8, 2021. Attorney Kate Gatti Rooks Appointed for Partial Term as Administrative Law Judge in Portland Attorney Kate Gatti Rooks was...

News

Preti Flaherty Partnership Announces Promotion to Partner of Kristin Collins and John Cronan, III

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that the firm’s partnership has named two new partners: Kristin M. Collins and John J. Cronan, III. Both attorneys stand out as distinguished practitioners within their respective fields...

Publication

Maine Supreme Court Affirms Decision in Workers’ Compensation Case Regarding Notice Requirements

In  Desgrosseilliers v. Auburn Sheet Metal  (2021 ME 63 [December 16, 2021]), the question presented is whether an employee is required to give notice of his occupational disease claim to his former employer’s insurer...