In an appeal before the Massachusetts Reviewing Board, Department of Industrial Accidents, the issues was whether an administrative judge had lacked impartiality in deciding that the insurer must pay benefits to an employee who suffered a workplace injury. The Board also addressed whether the judge had failed to rule on objections regarding the medical depositions.
In this case, the employee worked as a manager of a donut franchise for approximately nine years, until she injured her left knee and lower back. The workers’ compensation insurer paid § 34 benefits in accordance with a conference order, but then it terminated them after offering the employee a job based on medical restrictions set forth in an independent medical examination report. Since the judge found that the impartial report was adequate, but the medical issues were complex, the parties were allowed to submit additional medical evidence.
When making his determination, the judge had relied upon part of the medical opinions to find the employee was totally disabled due to the industrial accident. The employer had made two job offers to the employee, but the judge found that neither offer was suitable. The judge then awarded the employee ongoing § 34 benefits, as of the date of discontinuance. The insurer appealed.