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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, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Workers Compensation (24)


Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut Experience Decrease in Workplace Fatalities in 2012

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics issued preliminary data as to the number of workplace fatalities in 2012. The report provides extensive information regarding workplace fatalities across the county and serves as a helpful reminder to employers as to the importance of implementing safety protocols.

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Maine State Chamber of Commerce Opposes Majority Report to LD 443

The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to oppose the majority report to LD 443 “An Act to Amend the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992 to Provide Benefits to Seriously Injured Workers”. 

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April’s Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division Decisions

On April 3 and April 30, 2013, the Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division issued two more decisions on cases taken to the intermediate level of appeal: Haskell v. Katahdin Paper Co., Inc. and Thew v. Saunders of Lock Mills, LLC.  

Haskell v. Katahdin Paper Co., Inc.

Issues of interest that the Appellate Division addressed in the first case, Haskell v. Katahdin Paper Co., Inc., Decision no.13-3 include the effective date of the amendment creating the Appellate Division and with it, the intermediate level of appeal; examination of the process of applying the Act to a pre-existing condition; and a re-examination of the “arising out of” standard in a Bryant v. Masters Machine Co. situation setting.

Mr. Haskell had longstanding, non-symptomatic degenerative disc disease in his cervical spine.  On the date in question, Mr. Haskell was standing with a 300 pound pump suspended at chest level from a chain attached to an electric powered hoist that maneuvered the pump using a crane.  He had his left arm at the controls of the hoist, and his right arm resting on the chain.  He heard a sudden loud bang from the mezzanine level above him, where others were working, and jerked his head to the right and looked up.  He experienced immediate pain in his neck, with radiation into his right arm and numbness and tingling down to his fingers.

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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!