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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Maine (12)

Wednesday
Jun212017

Medical Marijuana: Is it reasonable and necessary?

Verrill Dana Labor & Employment attorney Beth Smith discusses the anticipated decision in Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Company that should provide some clarity about whether or not workers' compensation insurers will be compelled to compensate for medicinal marijuana expenses incurred by injured workers. Stream the podcast online here or listen below. 

 

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Tuesday
May022017

Breaking News on Medical Marijuana in Maine Workers' Compensation

We have just learned that the State of Maine Supreme Judicial Court, sitting as the Law Court, has accepted Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co., L.L.C., and Decision No. 16-26, one of a pair of Administrative Law Judge decisions addressing medical marijuana that the Appellate Division affirmed last summer.  The Law Court will examine the question of whether the Administrative Law Judge erred by compelling reimbursement for medical marijuana as reasonable and necessary under the Workers’ Compensation Act, despite the fact that marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under federal law.

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Wednesday
Mar012017

Twist and Shout, or A Small Victory in the Fight Against Creeping Non-Occupational Injury Coverage In Maine Workers’ Compensation

In a decision issued on February 17, 2017 (Fuller v. Hannaford Brothers Company, App. Div. 7-17), the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division revisited the two-pronged “arising out of” and “in the course of” standard necessary for an injury to be work-related.  As many readers know, an injury must both “arise out of” and “in the course of” employment for the injury to fall within workers’ compensation coverage.  Generally speaking, “arising out of” means that the injury must have its genesis in some duty, motion or activity required of the employee in the normal course of her work.  “In the course of” means that the employee must have been at a work or work-related location, performing work or otherwise advancing work interests.  The idea behind the two-pronged requirement is to separate those injuries that the employee may suffer in normal life, but for the fact that the employee just happened to be at work, from those injuries that truly have a cause related to some aspect of the work.  In this manner, workers’ compensation coverage is limited to injuries that are tied to the work, rather than becoming a supplemental form of health insurance.  Anecdotally, Maine, with its aging and deconditioned workforce, has seen an increase in claims that appear to be non-occupational, pre-existing albeit occasionally quiescent conditions brought under the umbrella of work-related injuries due to minor work activity or claimed work events.  Examples include overuse claims when the work performed by the employee is highly mechanized and non-repetitive, or degenerative joint claims when the body habitus of the employee coupled with the employee’s age and work history suggest that there is no link to work.

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Wednesday
Nov092016

Maine Passes Recreational Marijuana Statute—What Does This Mean for Employers

While still up for debate (as of the time of the writing of this blog), most news outlets and agencies in Maine are reporting that Question 1 on yesterday’s ballot has passed—therefore providing for recreational use of marijuana in Maine. What does this mean for employers?  That is the question of the day.

The statute itself provides the following as to employers:

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Friday
Sep302016

Governor's Panel Finds No Bias at Maine Human Rights Commission

Earlier this week, the Governor’s Panel to Review and Make Recommendations for Improvement of the Maine Human Rights Commission and Its Operations issued its report finding specifically that “there was no evidence that the MHRC or its staff ever intentionally meant to be unfair or biased toward any party.” The Report, however, did contain 13 recommendations. Specifically:

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Monday
Sep192016

Will The New Maine Opiate Control Law Impact the Workers’ Compensation System?

Stories of the horrors of opiate over-prescription and abuse are abundant, and Maine has not been spared the ravages of that epidemic.  In response to the growing problem, Governor LePage, in April of this year, signed into law a bill intended to place some limits on the prescription of opioids in situations involving both “acute pain” and “chronic pain”.  Under the new law, health care providers will be limited to prescribing no more than a 30-day supply of opioid medication in any 30-day period for patients with chronic pain.  However, there is no limit on the number of times that a 30-day prescription can be written by a provider.  The practical impact on chronic pain patients in the workers’ compensation system will be one of two outcomes:  either, patients will now have to visit their providers every thirty days rather than the every three to six months schedule typical in long-term workers’ compensation chronic pain cases; or providers will be decreasing the number of opioid prescriptions issued to chronic pain patients as their practices suffer from limits on the ability to accommodate every-thirty-day appointments for medication renewal.

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