Daszkiewicz v. Penobscot Bay Medical Center
October 25, 2016
Pre-Existing Hypersensitivity Work-Related §201(1)
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
In Daszkiewicz v. Penobscot Bay Medical Center, Daszkiewicz was a medical assistant who had a pre-existing “multiple chemical sensitivity” and “hypersensitivity to ordinary fragrances and odors that caused her to develop symptoms in reaction to minimal exposures.” She apparently had a breathing episode at work which required medical treatment and some time away from work. She filed a Petition for Award which Judge Elwin denied, finding that her employment did not “contribute a substantial element to increase the risk of injury or illness [sufficient to] offset the personal risk she brought with her to the employment.” Judge Elwin found that Daszkiewicz “just happened to be at work when the disability arose.”
This decision provides guidance for parties and practitioners in future similar cases, and they show that, just because an injury or illness occurs at work, that does not make it compensable under the Maine Worker’s Compensation Act. To be compensable under 39-A MRSA §201 (1), the injury must not only arise “in the course of” the employment, it must also arise “out of” the employment and not out of the employee's pre-existing condition alone.