The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine ruled Thursday that a worker is not required to notify his former employer's insurer of his claim for occupational disease when the employer no longer exists.
Roger Desgrosseilliers repaired asbestos insulation throughout the paper mill. England since the 1960s before retiring in 1994. In 2015, Desgrosseilliers underwent surgery for lung cancer and was diagnosed with asbestosis, according to documents in Desgrosseilliers v. Auburn Sheet Metal, filed in Portland  In early 2016, Mr . Desgrosseilliers filed five claims for compensation under the Occupational Diseases Act, each claiming a different date of injury between September 1
The ALJ determined that Desgrosseillier's injured date for the application of the Occupational Diseases Act was 2 November 2015, when he underwent lung cancer surgery. However, the ALJ also stated that Desgrosseilliers was likely to become aware of the compensable nature of his injury only when he discussed the claim with his lawyer in February 2016.
Mr. Desgrosseilliers notified Auburn of its claim 31 days after the ALJ's ruling. State law at the time required that notice of damage be given within 30 days, but since the 30th day fell on a Sunday, ALJ considered the notice on the following business day to be relevant. The Board upheld ALJ's decision on the issue of termination. To confirm, the state supreme court continued that state laws do not give any instruction to employees like Mr. Desgrosseilliers, whose employers no longer exist.
In the absence of a clear indication of legislative intentions and the state's clear language. law, the court wrote, "we refuse to introduce into the statutory system the requirement for an employee to notify the employer's insurer when the employer no longer exists."
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