Dorothy Currier v. Goodreau's Retirement Inn
Maine Employers Mutual
March 9, 2021
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
Dorothy Currier v. Goudreau's Retirement Inn (attached) - Ms. Currier had a long history of low back injuries and surgeries, and in 2010 she slipped and fell at work, increasing her low back pain. She filed a Petition for Award, and a §312 IME doctor found that her work injury was an "exacerbation of her chronic low back pain, resulting in an increase in intermittent lumbar radiculopathy." The IME’s initial report did not address work restrictions, but "in a follow-up email," the doctor listed restrictions and stated that they "apply largely" to the work injury.
Judge Elwin granted the Award but denied ongoing benefits. She identified "contrary evidence" as surveillance evidence and Currier's demeanor during hearing. She found that the IME's later statement on restrictions was contrary to his initial report and rejected it, finding that Currier's work injury temporarily contributed to her disability but no longer did so. Currier appealed, arguing that Judge Elwin needed "clear and convincing evidence to the contrary" to reject the IME's amended opinion providing restrictions and relating them to the work injury.
The Appellate Division agreed, vacated Judge Elwin's finding, and remanded the case for her to determine whether the record contained "clear and convincing evidence to the contrary" of the IME's amended opinion giving injury-related restrictions.