The Massachusetts legislature took measures to protect employees by passing the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). Under the Act, employers typically have to pay benefits to employees who sustain injuries while they are working. It is not uncommon, though, for employers or their insurers to attempt to avoid paying such benefits by arguing that the harm in question was not work-related. If the employer or insurer denies an employee benefits, the employee can employ the appeals process, but they must comply with the procedural requirements, otherwise their appeal may be denied, as shown in a recent Massachusetts opinion. If you were hurt while working, it is prudent to consult a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to determine your options.
It is reported that the plaintiff, representing himself, previously filed an unsuccessful claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents (D.I.A.) to reinstate discontinued workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits were terminated after the defendant, the plaintiff’s employer’s insurer, obtained judicial approval to discontinue them. The plaintiff then filed the subject civil action in seeking to reclaim his discontinued workers’ compensation payments, bypassing the D.I.A. despite prior adverse rulings from both the D.I.A. and the Appeals Court on the same matter. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed under the doctrine of res judicata; the defendant further argued for dismissal on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claims.
Jurisdiction Over Workers’ Compensation Claims
The court reviewed the case based on undisputed facts presented by the defendant’s and the plaintiff’s submissions. It ultimately agreed with the defendant’s arguments, finding that it lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim. Continue reading →