Kenneth Lawrence v. John Lucas Tree Experts, Inc.
July 15, 2021
CategoriesBenefit Payments Statute of Limitations Procedure Benefit Payments Procedure Statute of Limitations
Sec. 107 third party lien
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
The Appellate Division upholds the ALJ's conclusion that the statute of limitations period was tolled during a payment "holiday" exercised by Lucas Tree under 39-A M.R.S. Sec. 107.
Mr. Lawrence sustained a work-related injury on March 8, 2005 which gave rise to a third party tort recovery. Pursuant to the Law Court decision in Liberty Mutual v. Weeks, Lucas Tree ceased making payment of benefits to exhaust the "holiday" created by its lien rights under Sec. 107. After the holiday had been exhausted and Lawrence petitioned for payment of benefits, Lucas Tree denied asserting the statute of limitations had expired because it had not made payments for 6 years.
The ALJ found that because payment of medical expenses for the injury had been made and that Lucas Tree had knowledge of those payments before the limitations periods had expired, those payment tolled the running of the limitations period.
The Appellate Division upheld this conclusion by the ALJ. It concluded that if the payments did not toll the limitations period then Lawrence would receive a smaller total recovery from the workers' compensation system than if there were no third party recovery. It found this result to be inconsistent with Sec. 107 and Liberty Mutual v. Weeks. It also determined that the amount of the holiday had been exhausted and therefore Lucas Tree had to resume making medical treatment expense payments.