Donald Oakes v. Don's Stove Shop

Insurance Company

Maine Employer's Mutual

Date Decided

January 6, 2021

Panel Members

David Hirtle

Tom Pelletier

Mike Stovall


Compensability Medical Evidence


File Size

149 KB


Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys

Donald Oakes v. Don’s Stove Shop (attached) - Oakes injured his left knee at work in 2013 and had surgeries in 2014 and 2015. He then developed pain in his right knee and claimed a sequela injury. His surgeon Dr. Huffard completed M-1s indicating both knees were “work-related,” but he also expressly stated that Oakes had a pre-existing degenerative process in the right knee, so he could not attribute his right knee pain to walking awkwardly with his left knee. Judge Elwin granted Oakes’ petitions on the left knee but denied them on the right knee, and Oakes appealed. The Appellate Division affirmed Judge Elwin’s decision, holding that ALJs can interpret and adopt the portions of medical opinions they find persuasive while rejecting other opinions, even if the opposing parties present no directly contradictory evidence. The moving parties’ evidence must meet both their burden of production and their burden of proof.

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