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Bath Iron Works Corp. v. Director

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20579
Nos. No. 00-1208, 244 F.3d 222/(1st Cir., 04/05/2001)

The court holds that an administrative law judge (ALJ) properly reallocated responsibility for paying a pipefitter's medical and disability payments from an insurance company to the pipefitter's employer. The pipefitter was awarded medical benefits in 1991 for multiple, work-related diseases, and his employer's insurance company was assigned full responsibility for the payments. In 1995, the pipefitter sought to modify the benefit award to include permanent, total disability benefits. In modifying the original award, the ALJ shifted responsibility for payments to the pipefitter's employer because the pipefitter had experienced additional harmful exposure at his work-place while his employer was self-insured. The employer appealed. The court first holds, however, that the employer had adequate notice of its potential liability, and the ALJ had authority to reassign liability for the pipefitter's benefits. The court next holds that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's finding that the pipefitter was exposed to harmful industrial irritants when his employer was on the risk as a self-insured employer. Thus, because the employer was the carrier on the risk during the last period of injurious exposure before the pipefitter became disabled by lung disease, liability for the medical disability payments shifts to the employer.

Counsel for Petitioner
Stephen Hessert
Norman, Hanson & DeTroy
415 Congress St., 5th Fl., Portland ME 04112
(207) 774-7000

Counsel for Respondent
Richard F. Van Antwerp
Robinson, Kriger & McCallum
12 Portland Pier, Portland ME 04112
(207) 772-6565

Coffin, J. Before Selya and Campbell, JJ.