DiFiore v. Maine Medical Center

Insurance Company


Date Decided

October 23, 2018

Panel Members

Elizabeth Elwin

David Hirtle

Sue Jerome


Legal Causation


Back Pre-Existing Increased Risk

File Size

247 KB


Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys

Mr. DiFiore had chronic low back pain from lifting weights at the gym and had MRI scans, injections, narcotics and a surgical consult. He worked in the mailroom and bent down to pick up an envelope from a tote on the floor, re-rupturing a lumbar disc, requiring surgery and lost time from work. He filed petitions, and MMC defended on grounds of “legal causation.”

Judge Collier found that Mr. DiFiore’s chronic back condition made him “susceptible to injury,” and that “the work activity did not create a risk of injury above the risk present in an average person’s non-employment life.” Mr. DiFiore appealed. The Appellate Division reviewed the facts anew and discussed the case law on both sides of “legal causation,” and it affirmed the decision, finding that Judge Collier applied the correct legal standard, and that his application of the law to the facts was not arbitrary and had a rational foundation.

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