Sample Court Decisions And Case Summaries

Workers' Compensation And Injury Lawyers

The Injured Workers' Legal Center through its entity Reben Benjamin and March won a three-day jury trial for an engineer whose employer refused to pay his commission for his work on a $1 million project. The employer argued that the engineer's work did not meet project specifications, that the engineer was not entitled to his commission because he quit, and accused the engineer of misconduct on the job. The jury returned a verdict for our client awarding the amount we asked for to the penny. Our client also received statutory penalties and attorneys' fees paid for by his employer.

Whistleblower: A high-paid executive was terminated by his company due to his alleged insubordination. He denied the insubordination, asserting that the real reason for his termination was because he fulfilled his obligations to report illegal activity that was occurring within the company. Through our representation in this Maine Human Rights Act/Whistleblower Protection case we were able to vindicate his reputation and secure him a settlement in excess of $250,000.

Negligence Action: A work-site staffing coordinator for a temporary agency was injured while on the premises of a manufacturer employing workers from the temporary agency. The manufacturer asserted that any claim against it was barred because the Workers' Compensation Act is the sole avenue for compensation when a worker is injured on the job. Our attorneys proved that the client was not an employee of the manufacturer; therefore, the manufacturer was not entitled to immunity from the negligence suit. At mediation the manufacturer offered a nominal settlement confident its legal position would prevail if the claim was pursued further. We took the case to court and successfully argued the employer was not entitled to immunity. The case settled for over $500,000.

Workers' Compensation - Longshore and Defense Base Act: A registered nurse was seriously injured in a car accident traveling with her supervisor to a conference in her personal car, sustaining paralyzing injuries. The Workers' Compensation Board decided that since she chose to travel in her private car with her supervisor, her manner of travel was one of convenience. Therefore, it found that her injury did not arise out of or during the course of her employment, ruling that she had no right to recover for her incapacitating injuries. We appealed the Board's harsh decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Following oral argument, we settled the case for $1.1 million, including a coordinated special needs trust to protect her interests.

A shipyard electrician from Bath Iron Works in Maine was awarded 100-percent weekly compensation benefits for a back injury, with benefits continuing for almost eight years. SSDI benefits were also secured. Eventually the employer/carrier settled the case for over $530,000, plus attorney fees, to settle the value of future benefits.

A marine terminal crane operator suffered a back injury and two surgeries that did not eliminate his lumbar back pain. After returning to work he was eventually terminated as he was unable to work full duty without substantial work restrictions. The carrier refused to place him back on weekly Longshore workers' compensation benefits. After the LHWCA workers' compensation case was presented to a Longshore judge for several hearings, the case settled for over $400,000. The worker also filed an EEOC case for wrongful termination due to his disability, with the case being resolved in mediation.

An interpreter of Farsi, Dari, and Pashto, working for a defense base contractor in the Afghanistan conflict, suffered a rotator cuff tear requiring significant surgery. After his surgery and return to work in light duty in a non-defense contractor position back in the U.S., the carrier stopped his benefits. A Defense Base Act workers' compensation case was vigorously fought, with the carrier arguing that because translator duties were light duty no benefits should be awarded. The orthopedic surgeon testified that the worker could never return to combat translator work which included fast roping from helicopters, the cause of the injury. The case settled just prior to hearing before the OALJ judge for substantial future wage loss and medical benefits.

A 28-year machine repair technician for a multinational jet engine manufacturer contracted occupational asthma as a result of oils and machining fluids in the air. Despite evidence that the employer had upgraded the air quality substantially as shown on air quality tests, our attorneys were able to secure a substantial global settlement for past and future benefits to retirement. We also prevailed in a case for Social Security Disability benefits.

A North American Van Lines (NAVL) interstate truck driver suffered a head injury in Massachusetts on 9-11-01. The insurer argued he was an independent contractor with no right to workers' comp. benefits from NAVL. Despite evidence including piles of purported independent contractor agreements between the driver and NAVL, our attorneys succeeded in proving that the driver was an employee of NAVL under the law. Maine law and state and federal wage statutes are similar and give workers a chance to defeat the independent contractor defense and win substantial injury benefits. See Spescha v. NAVL on our list of cases below.

Auto Accident: A client was injured when the driver of another vehicle fell asleep at the wheel of her SUV, crossed the center line, and slammed head-on into our client's car. It took rescue crews almost an hour, using four Jaws-of-Life and two saws, to remove her from the crumbled car. Through our representation we were able to secure her a $200,000 settlement.

Slip and Fall: A truck driver was delivering goods in December. The property had no loading dock, requiring drivers to exit their trucks and walk into the building with the delivered goods. Upon completing his delivery and exiting the building, the driver slipped on an icy incline covered with a thin layer of snow, striking his head and suffering a severe head injury. As a result of our ability to pursue negligence and workers' compensation claims simultaneously, we were able to secure the client a settlement award of $140,000 against the property where the client fell, as well as a workers' compensation settlement for $85,000.

A UPS package delivery driver tore his shoulder rotator cuff when he fell on a slick Maine driveway. He was unable to continue his career. Suit was brought against the homeowner for negligence in maintenance of the dooryard. Prior to trial the case settled for substantial insurance benefits from the homeowner's insurance policy.

Slip-and-Fall Jury Trial: An elderly man suffering from Parkinson's Disease and dementia was injured when he slipped and fell at a department store. We pursued all legal theories of recovery on his behalf for the injuries as well as for the loss of consortium his wife suffered as a result of the fall. Opposing counsel fought hard to deny recovery for client's loss of consortium claim. We chose to fight for the dignity of our client, declining to accept a settlement that did not recognize all of our client's losses. We took his claims before a jury and received a verdict in the amount $115,000 that compensated him for his injuries as well as provided him a sense of dignity by granting him recovery for his loss of consortium.

Insurance Denial of Long-Term Disability: A highly skilled procurement specialist for a top shipbuilder became disabled from a serious chemically induced psychiatric illness. The insurer (Fortis) stopped benefits after two years arguing that the worker's benefits were limited by the policy's two year "mental/nervous" benefit limitation. Our attorneys successfully argued that the policy did not limit his form of biological illness and required the employer and insurer to pay him his monthly LTD disability benefit for the duration of the policy, to age 65.

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