Workers Compensation Summary of Reviewing Board Cases, January 2017

Melvin Morales v. Not Your Average Joes, Inc., ____ Mass. Workers Comp. Rep. ____ (Koziol, J. 1/31/2017). The Employee appeals a Decision denying and dismissing his claims for Section 34, 35 and 34A benefits. The Reviewing Board found one dispositive argument; the argument that the employee had disability opinions from 2015 and 2016 which were not considered. The Administrative Judge, in denying the Employee benefits, found that there was no disability note after 8/13/14, which was 19 months prior. However, the Parties filed a joint exhibit which included disability opinions from 2015 and 2016. This document had not been uploaded to OnBase (the document management system) before the decision was written and the documents uploaded thereafter were from the Conference. The Reviewing Board vacated and recommitted the matter for the Administrative Judge to review the missing evidence and making further findings of facts and rulings thereafter. The Reviewing Board upheld the Administrative Judges decision not to strike the Impartial Report. While the examiner expanded the issues in dispute, the Administrative Judge properly declared it inadequate. As to the allegation of judicial bias, it was waived for failure to address the Administrative Judges comment with regard to the Employees age which occurred at hearing. Also, the Reviewing Board noted that age is one factor in considering the extent of incapacity.