Desgrosseilliers v. Auburn Sheet Metal
October 23, 2020
Timely Notice Asbestos Asbestosis §301 Defunct Employers
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division has just issued a decision upholding Judge Goodnough’s award of benefits despite apparent late notice of the injury.
Desgrosseilliers made an asbestos occupational disease claim, and Auburn Sheet Metal defended in part on late notice. Judge Goodnough decided that, since the employer no longer existed at the time the asbestos disease became disabling, the employee did not have any obligation to notify the insurer, so his notice was not late.
39-A MRS §301 governs notice and contains no independent obligation for the employee to notify insurer, except where the employee is self-employed. The Appellate Division panel ruled that, when providing notice to the employer is impossible, the employee’s failure to notify the insurer does not bar his claim.
The panel did not reach the question of whether Judge Goodnough erred in applying a Maine court rule to a WC case and deciding that notice on the 31st day was timely because the 30th day fell on a Sunday.