Maryland’s Second Highest Court Finds Despite Full and Final Settlement, Death is Only the Beginning

In a hot-off-the-press opinion, Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals has held that language within an agreement of final compromise and settlement releasing an employer/insurer from all future claims could not bar a spouse’s claims to death benefits in a workers’ compensation claim.[i]

On June 13, 2012, Bernard Collins (the decedent) filed a workers’ compensation claim against Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department, and two of its insurers, Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company and Selective Insurance Company of America, seeking an occupational disease claim for heart disease and …

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Maryland Court of Appeals Holds That for Occupational Diseases, It’s About the Whole Picture

In a recently reported opinion, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that the Circuit Court for Baltimore County did not abuse its discretion in finding that the claimant, an employee of Baltimore County, had degenerative meniscal tears classifiable as an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of his employment. Baltimore County. v. Quinlan, 215 A.3d 282 (Md. 2019).

In October 2015, the claimant filed a claim against Baltimore County with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, asserting that he had developed meniscal …

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Maryland’s High Court Reverses Course and Strengthens Modification Powers of the Workers’ Compensation Commission

The Maryland Court of Appeals recently overturned the lower court’s decision limiting the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s (WCC) revisory powers. The Court of Special Appeals previously found the WCC did not have authority to retroactively modify a claimant’s rate of compensation. However, the high court has reversed course and affirmed the commission’s broad powers in the case of Peter Gang v. Montgomery County, No. 67 Sept. Term 2018, 2019 WL 2574657 (Md. Ct. App. June 24, 2019).

By way of background, the claimant, Peter Gang, …

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Maryland Legislature Says “Yea” To Additional Medical Presumptions, “Nay” To Medical Cannabis Reform in Workers’ Compensation Cases

The 2019 Maryland legislative session only produced one substantive law change that impacts the Maryland Workers’ Compensation framework. Additionally, two bills that did not get passed also sent conspicuous messages to practitioners within the bar.

The lone bill implicating Maryland Workers’ Compensation that was passed into Law is House Bill 595, which was approved by Governor Larry Hogan on April 30, 2019. The bill serves as an amendment to Labor & Employment Article Section 9-503 which addresses medical presumptions in workers’ compensation cases. Specifically, the …

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The Going and Coming Rule Does Not Always Apply

In an unreported opinion, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County did not err in finding that a public safety officer, who was injured in an accident while driving his personal motor cycle to retrieve his cruiser before beginning his shift, was a compensable accidental injury under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act. Prince George’s County v. Zonn, 1514,SEPT.TERM,2017, 2018 WL 6721767, (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Dec. 21, 2018).

The claimant, a corporal with the Prince George’s …

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New Year, New Compensation Rates!

Every year, the Maryland legislature mandates the Workers’ Compensation Commission to determine the maximum compensation rates for the state Average Weekly Wage. The Department of Labor and Licensing Regulation computes the state Average Weekly Wage and provides that figure to the Commission for consideration of compensation rates for the fiscal year. This year, the Average Weekly Wage of workers covered by Maryland Unemployment is $1,116.00, an increase of 2% from 2018.

The increase in Maryland’s Average Weekly Wage does not affect the maximum compensation rates …

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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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Maryland Courts Affirm that the Average Weekly Wage Will Not be Liberally Construed

The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act is to be liberally construed in favor of the claimant. However, there are boundaries, one of which is the computation of a claimant’s average weekly wage as the Court of Special Appeals articulated in Stine v. Montgomery County, 237 Md.App. 374 (2018). In Stine, the claimant was working as a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) for Montgomery County while studying as a nursing student. On duty, he injured his foot stepping off an ambulance and initiated a workers’ …

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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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Maryland’s Second Highest Court Recounts and Applies Critical Zakwieia and Reger Cases in Rendering New Opinion

The 2017 calendar year saw the introduction of two prominent cases addressing the offset afforded under Labor and Employment Section 9-610 and two simple words: “similar benefits.”  Two cases, two words … little to no clarity. Now, 2018 has seen its first opinion from Maryland’s highest court addressing the critical statute governing disability benefits owed to covered employees of governmental units or quasi-public corporations.

A more complete analysis of the Zakwieia and Reger cases can be can be found in previous post. However, the …

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