Roger Desgrosseillers v. Auburn Sheet Metal

Insurance Company


Date Decided

December 16, 2021

Panel Members


Notice Statutory Construction Notice Statutory Construction


File Size

108 KB


Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys

Roger Desgrosseilliers v. Auburn Sheet Metal (attached) – Desgrosseilliers was a retired sheet metal worker who developed lung cancer from his work exposure to asbestos over many years. His last employment exposure was at Auburn Sheet Metal, which his wife owned. After undergoing lung surgery, he spoke with a lawyer who advised him it was a work injury.

Desgrosseilliers’ wife had passed away and the business had closed, so he filed petitions and served Auburn’s insurer a day after expiration of the 30-day notice period. The insurers raised notice, but Judge Goodnough found it both timely and unnecessary under the circumstances, and he granted his petition and awarded him benefits. Auburn appealed to the WCB Appellate Division, which upheld that where the employer no longer existed, timely notice was not needed.

Auburn appealed to the Maine Supreme Court, which accepted the case for review. The court affirmed the decision of the Appellate Division, holding that WC Act requires an employee to notify the employer only if it is still in existence; it does not require an employee to notify a defunct employer or its insurer within the deadline.

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