Flanagin v. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
March 21, 2017
CategoriesStatute of Limitations
Back Second Injury laches waiver Non-compensable injuries Total Incapacity
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
Flanagan injured his back at work in 1975 and apparently received payment of benefits from that injury. He reinjured his back at work in 1979, and Judge Jerome found that, when the Department paid him benefits on that injury, they had “contemporaneous notice” that the payments related in part to the 1975 injury, thus extending that statute of limitations on the 1975 injury under the Maine Supreme Court’s decisions in Klimas and Lister.
The Department also raised for the first time the defenses of “waiver” (conduct signifying conscious intent to relinquish a legal right) and “laches” (waiting too long to assert a right to the prejudice of an adverse party), but Judge Jerome declined to apply these defenses, because “equitable remedies are not available under the Act.” Finally, the Department argued that Flanagan had other non-compensable injuries which contributed to his incapacity, but Judge Jerome found that these subsequent aggravations related to the original 1975 injury and awarded Flanagan total incapacity benefits, and the AD panel found no error in those findings.