Arthur Brown v. County of Cumberland
Maine Municipal Association
August 31, 2022
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
Brown v. County of Cumberland (attached)- While at work on January 3, 2019 the employee slipped and fell on ice landing on his holstered firearm with his right hip. In Brown v. County of Cumberland, Dec. No. 22-28, the County argued the ALJ erred in awarding benefits based on a pre-existing condition under sec. 201(4) where the employee did not claim he had a pre-existing condition, offered no evidence of a pre-existing condition and denied knowledge of a pre-existing condition. The panel held it was appropriate for the ALJ to reject that testimony and accept medical evidence in the record that Brown had a right hip labral tear in 2013 with progressive arthritis. An ALJ has a responsibility to review the entire record to decide which facts to accept or reject. The panel also rejected the County’s argument that the ALJ erred by applying Bryant rather than sec. 201(4) when analyzing compensability of pre-existing conditions. When applying sec. 201(4) an ALJ must first determine whether a work related injury occurred, and if so, whether the employment contributed to disability in a significant manner. It was not error for the ALJ to apply Bryant when making the initial determination of whether a work-related injury occurred in the first place.