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Freeman v. NewPage Corp.

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

March 31, 2016

BRENDA L. FREEMAN
v.
NEWPAGE CORPORATION et al

         Argued February 9, 2016.

          The decision of the Workers' Compensation Board Appellate Division affirming the hearing officer's decision is affirmed.

         On the briefs:

          James J. MacAdam, Esq., and Nathan A. Jury, Esq., MacAdam Jury, P.A., Portland, for appellant Brenda L. Freeman.

         Richard D. Tucker, Esq., and Michael Tadenev, Esq., Tucker Law Group, Bangor, for appellees NewPage Corporation and Sedgwick CMS.

         At oral argument: James J. MacAdam, Esq., for appellant Brenda L. Freeman.

         Richard D. Tucker, Esq., for appellees NewPage Corporation and Sedgwick CMS.

         Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          OPINION

          GORMAN, J.

          [¶1] Brenda L. Freeman appeals from an order of the Workers' Compensation Board Appellate Division affirming the hearing officer's ( Knopf, HO ) decision that, because Freeman was already receiving the statutory maximum weekly compensation benefit due to a 2007 injury, she was not entitled to further compensation

Page 341

during a period of incapacity that resulted from a separate work-related injury in 2011. Freeman argues that the hearing officer erred by construing the statutory maximum benefit provision as a total ceiling on the potential benefits available to an injured worker. We affirm the decision.

         I. BACKGROUND

          [¶2] After Freeman filed a petition for award of compensation with the Board in June of 2012, she and her employer, NewPage Corporation, stipulated to the following facts. Freeman suffered a work-related injury in 2007, when her average wage was $2,044.87 per week. After the injury, Freeman returned to work for NewPage, but in a lower-paying position. As a result of the decrease in her weekly wage, Freeman received partial incapacity benefit payments in addition to her wages. In December of 2011, Freeman suffered a second work-related injury, which caused her to be completely unable to work between March 30, 2012, and September 10, 2012. During that period of incapacity, NewPage paid Freeman 100% partial incapacity benefits, based on the 2007 injury. Based on her 2007 weekly wage, Freeman received the maximum compensation rate available during her period of incapacity. ...


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