A common issue faced by workers’ compensation insurers and medical providers is the prevalence of chronic opioid use by injured workers with chronic pain.   Longterm use of opioids for chronic non-­cancer pain increased dramatically over the past two decades, despite very little evidence that long-term (at least 16 weeks) opioid use for such pain is effective. (1)  As many claims handlers are aware, injured workers often remain on opioid pain medicine for months or years – at great expense – with little to no benefit.

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New Appellate Division decision clarifies burden of proof to toll the statute of limitations


Recently, the Appellate Division clarified the employee’s burden of proof of contemporaneous notice required to toll (or pause) the statute of limitations in Maine workers’ compensation cases.  Contemporaneous notice is a doctrine which tolls the statute of limitations for an earlier injury if the employee can show the employer/ insurer made payments on a later injury with contemporaneous knowledge those payments were at least partly necessitated by the earlier injury.

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Six questions every business should ask about its unpaid internship

With summer around the corner, the labor market is about to be flooded by students looking for internships to gain some hands-on experience in their chosen fields.  Internships can be a great experience for both interns and employers; however, employers should look closely at the nature of the work an intern will do before advertising an unpaid internship.

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EEOC Lawsuit May Signal New Stance on Severance and Big Trouble for Employers


The EEOC may be coming for your severance agreement next.

Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against pharmacy giant CVS Caremark, alleging that a severance agreement it provided to three employees unlawfully restricted their rights to file discrimination charges or cooperate with the EEOC.  What is most troubling about the suit for employers is that the EEOC complaint takes issue with garden-variety severance terms that most employers likely use in their stock severance and settlement agreements.  The suit could mean trouble on the horizon: if the EEOC prevails, employers could be stripped of much of the liability protection severance agreements are designed to offer.

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Regulators Won’t Enforce Prohibition-Era Beer Law, but Uncertainty Remains


In recent weeks, a 77-year-old law prohibiting Maine businesses from displaying the alcohol content of beers earned Maine national attention.  The law, enacted in the wake of Prohibition,  prohibits signs or labels referring  “in any manner to the alcoholic strength of the malt liquor” or using “such words as ‘extra strength,’ or ‘pre-war strength.’”  The Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations recently began interpreting this law to prevent the display of alcohol-by-volume (ABV) numbers on signs or menus, and issued warnings to restaurants and bars throughout the state.  Thankfully, on Tuesday the Bureau announced a new enforcement policy.  But is the problem really solved?

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Protecting Customer Information and Brand Reputation in the Digital Age

information securityRecent media attention has highlighted a disturbing trend: information security breaches are on the rise.  These breaches can cost a business a lot of time and money.  They can also result in a loss of customer trust and brand reputation – valuable commodities that are easier to lose than to earn back.  While most businesses try to mitigate the risk of a security breach, many may not be aware of their requirements under Maine law in the event that a breach occurs.   Read on after the jump for more information.

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Maine’s Judges, Among the Lowest-Paid in the Nation, May Soon See a Cost-of-Living Increase

Maine's judiciary, the lowest paid in the country, may soon see a pay raise.

Maine’s Supreme Court ranks 50th in the nation for judicial compensation.

On Tuesday, January 14, the Judiciary Committee voted to support a measure granting all 60 Maine judges a 4 percent cost-of-living increase for both the current and prior fiscal year.  Although the judiciary received a pay raise in July 2013 (the first since 1998), the statute also provides for annual cost-of-living increases, and the Maine bench has not received  a cost-of-living increase since 2008.   Even with the proposed increases, Maine’s judiciary would still be among the lowest paid in the nation.   Read on for more about the proposal, and why Maine’s flagging judicial compensation should matter to Maine companies.

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Don’t Get Snowed Under by Legal Costs this Slip-and-Fall Season

Snow removal

Most Mainers know the old adage that Maine has only two seasons: winter and mud season.  The joke has a grain of truth, however, and the dangers and costs of ice and snow are no laughing matter.  According to the Maine Department of Labor, since 2011, slips and falls on ice and snow have cost Maine workers, employers, and insurers more than $2.3 million annually in lost time and medical expenses.  When winter weather hits, Maine businesses need to be prepared, or potentially face slip and fall suits and workers’ compensation claims.  Maine law can shield a business exercising best practices from slip and fall suits, but it can also create pitfalls for the unprepared.  Read on after the break for some tips to protect your business and your bottom line.

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Happy Holidays!

Christmas Tree

In the midst of this Holiday Season, we would like to thank all our clients and friends for their support during this past year.  We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday and we look forward to working with you and exchanging ideas with you in 2014!


Welcome to YOUR FIRST REPORT, an insurance defense blog where Maine employers, insurers, third party administrators and their attorneys can come together to discuss the latest issues relating to this area of practice. By visiting this site you will stay up-to-date on a wide variety of topics, including the latest cases, unique scenarios we have run across, as well as some lighter fare, such as the intersection of insurance defense with popular culture.

The bloggers are lawyers at Tucker Law Group, a litigation firm with a statewide insurance defense practice in Maine. Through the use of comments sections we hope to create an environment where robust commentary is respected and encouraged.

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