Paying for Claimants’ Attorney Fees is the Exception to the Rule in D.C.

The D.C. Court of Appeals was recently presented with the opportunity to weigh in on the prerequisites for ordering employers and insurers to pay for claimants’ litigation fees and costs in workers’ compensation claims. In the case of Kelly v. D.C. Dep’t of Employment Servs., No. 18-AA-13, 2019 WL 4073672 (D.C. Aug. 29, 2019), the court refused to require the employer and insurer to bear the cost of the claimant’s attorney fees.

In Washington, D.C., there are only two limited circumstances where the employer …

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Revisiting Apportionment for Private Sector Injuries in the District of Columbia

On May 2, 2019, the Compensation Review Board (CRB) issued a decision opening the door for apportionment claims in private sector injuries in the District of Columbia. James M. Lyles, Jr. v. Howard University Hospital, (CRB No. 17-036). This decision was in response to a remand from the D.C. Court of Appeals directing the CRB to revisit their interpretation of D.C. Code § 32-1508 (6).

The crux of the analysis centers around the changes to the Act in 1998 which eliminated the Special Fund …

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Limitations on the Revisory Powers of the Workers Compensation Commission

While unreported, the Court of Special Appeals has interpreted some boundaries to revisory powers in the case of Montgomery County, Maryland v. Peter Gang, No. 00768 Sept. Term 2017, 2018 WL 3801772 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Aug. 9, 2018).

The background of the case establishes that the claimant, Peter Gang was a public safety worker for Montgomery County at the time of his September 17, 2011 work injury. Due to an oversight, he received a permanent partial disability award on May 2, 2012, which …

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Summary Judgment and the “Coming and Going” Doctrine: It’s Complicated

Injuries occurring during an ordinary commute to and from work are not compensable under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act. The “coming and going” doctrine has always required in in-depth factual analysis for each case to determine if any exceptions to this doctrine apply. The Court of Appeals recently decided what should be considered a factual or legal determination in the context of a summary judgment decision on this issue. Calvo v. Montgomery Cty., No. 48, SEPT. TERM, 2017, 2018 WL 2296349 (Md. May 21, …

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The Department of Labor Announces Increased National Average Weekly Wage Now in Effect

The time has come for the annual adjustment in Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) rates. The Department of Labor, which administers the Longshore Act, has announced the new National Average Weekly Wage (NAWW) of $735.89; an increase of 2.46 percent over the previous NAWW. This NAWW will be in effect from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018, and will affect ongoing permanent total disability benefits and death benefits.

The increase in the NAWW will also lead to a slight increase in the …

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The Aftermath of Zakwieia and Reger — The Court of Special Appeals Finds LE §9-610 Offset Does Not Apply to Ordinary Disability Benefits for a Different Injury

In the past year there has been a flurry of litigation in Maryland regarding what exactly a “similar benefit” is, and when an offset is warranted under Labor and Employment § 9-610. We first had Zakwieia in early 2017, holding that a similar benefit is “whether the benefits provide a similar wage loss benefit to a workers’ compensation award, not whether the benefits accrue from a similar injury.” Zakwieia v. Baltimore Co. Bd. Of Educ., 231 Md. App. 644, 654 (2017). Just six months later …

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Maryland on High Alert after Declaring State of Emergency

With communities nationwide struggling to address the booming opioid epidemic, Maryland is the first to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to rein in overdoses within its borders. In 2016, the Maryland residents suffered more than 2,700 fatal opioid overdoses; this figure is climbing at an alarming rate. The state of emergency declaration allowed Governor Larry Hogan discretion to allocate $50 million in funding to fight the epidemic without waiting for legislative approval. This funding is in addition to Maryland’s previous and ongoing …

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