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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. 

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Entries in Workers Compensation (21)


Newly Minted Appellate Division Issues First Two Decisions

The first two decisions have issued from the Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division this week, offering employers a first glimpse of a review process last seen prior to the reforms of 1992.

On March 25th a panel made up of Hearing Officer Collier, Hearing Officer Elwin and Hearing Officer Greene heard an appeal brought by an employer, Point Sebago, alleging that Hearing Officer Jerome had erred as a matter of law in determining the employee’s Average Weekly Wage according to 39-A M.R.S.A. §102(4)( B). Point Sebago argued that the wage should have been determined with reference to §102(4)(D), using comparable employee wages. The panel disagreed and upheld Hearing Officer Jerome’s method and decision. 

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To Be an Employee or Independent Contractor…That is the Question: Maine’s New Independent Contractor Law Goes Into Effect Today 

Maine’s new independent contractor law goes into effect today with a standard definition of “employment” that seeks to eliminate confusion as to whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.  More on the new law can be found here.   Have you reviewed the law and the effect it could have on your workforce?  If not, we are here to help you navigate the new definition and criteria. 


Updates From Comp Summit - Appellate Review

Our own Beth Smith is currently attending the 2012 Comp Summit.  Periodically, Beth will be sharing updates about panel discussions and new trends being discussed that could impact Maine Workers Compensation system.  This morning Beth had the following report:

"This morning’s lead off session was a panel of Hearing Officers addressing various issues, including a bit of a divide over whether Appellate Division decisions will be considered binding upon the Hearing Officers on specifically addressed issues.  Hearing Officer Greene appeared to at least convince Hearing Officer Stovall that the Appellate Division decisions should be binding, but Hearing Officers Elwin and Knopf have yet to make up their minds on the matter.

Additionally, rulemaking is still happening to help clarify procedure before the Appellate Division, as well as timelines and cases that would be subject to review.  The Hearing Officers discussed differences in approach to establishing permanent impairment, preference for a unified set of questions in Section 312 examinations, and the advent of video conferencing as a means of conducting hearings for remotely located claimants."

Stay tuned for more updates from Comp Summit!



L.D. 1913 represents the first significant amendment of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act in twenty years, and a much lauded provision of the new law is the amendment of Section 205(9)(B)(2).  As it read prior to amendment, an Employer/Insurer could successfully establish the right to terminate payment of indemnity benefits due to the running of the 520 week period, but be compelled to continue paying indemnity benefits,  Decree notwithstanding, because Section 205(9)(B)(2) specifically directed an employer/insurer to continue paying benefits during the pendency of an appeal.  As one can imagine, ever losing employee appealed the Decree, and so continued the flow of indemnity for as long as it took the Law Court to reject the appeal.

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Workers' Comp Update: A New Labor Member for the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors 

Ronald P. Green, Jr., of Plymouth, Maine ( a small town about 24 miles south of Bangor) is to be voted on to the Board of Directors of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board at the April 11, 2012 Board meeting.  He will be replacing Ginette Rivard on the Labor panel of the Board.

Mr. Green is a firefighter with the City of Bangor Fire Department, where he has worked since 1990.  He is active in his union, the International Association of Fire Fighters, currently serving as the 4th District Vice President of the local chapter of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine.  According to his biography, he has worked on many committees on behalf of his union, has been the Executive Board Chairman, Grievance Chairman, Treasurer and Past President of Local #772.  Interestingly, his term as 4th District Vice President is not set to expire until January of 2013, meaning that he will be active in both capacities, at least for the duration of this year.


Workers' Comp Update: NCCI Proposes Average Premium Rate Decrease for 2012

The National Council on Compensation Insurance ("NCCI") has announced that it is filing with the Maine Bureau of Insurance a proposed average premium rate decrease of 6.9% for 2012.  It had earlier announced a rate reduction of 3.2%, but revised the rate to take into account the promulgated medical fee schedule finally adopted by the Board in December of 2011.  NCCI calculated an additional rate reduction attributable to the newly adopted medical fee schedule projected to be 3.8% , with the resulting overall reduction of 6.9%.