WCB App. Div. Affirms Decision Based on §312 IME

The Maine Worker's Compensation Board's Appellate Division has issued an opinion upholding a decree ordering benefits for a mental stress injury based on a §312 IME.

In Mark Voisine v. State of Maine, Department of Transportation, Voisine claimed a mental injury from work-stress at the Department of Transportation. Dr. Jeffrey Barkin performed a §312 psychological IME and found his stress to be work-related. The Department argued that there was "clear and convincing evidence to the contrary," but Administrative Law Judge Elwin disagreed and ordered payment of benefits accordingly.

The Department appealed her decision, but the Appellate Division panel affirmed it. The panel repeated its heightened standard of review in such cases: an ALJ’s decision based on a §312 IME cannot be reversed on appeal unless the ALJ’s findings are not supported by "any competent evidence" or the record discloses "no reasonable basis" to support the decision. Given this standard, the cases more likely to succeed on appeal are those in which IME doctor relies on facts that are not credible or even in the record.

Please let us know if you have any questions about this or any other case.

Thomas Getchell
Daniel Gilligan
Michael Richards
Attorneys at Law